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Welcome to Julie Billiart Schools, a family of K-8 coeducational, independent day schools for children with learning differences.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

JB students and Intervention Specialists illuminate the silver lining of distance learning

Waiting in a carefully distanced line outside of Costco, crossing the road to avoid walking too close to neighbors on the sidewalk, sewing or purchasing face masks to wear outside the home… the world has quickly adjusted to a new “normal”. Amidst the many changes to society, Julie Billiart Schools’ Intervention Specialists are weaving threads of consistency into the lives of children with learning differences.

JB began distance learning, an education method in which lessons and classes are either broadcast or conducted through virtual correspondence, in March as a result of the mandatory stay-at-home order and school closings surrounding COVID-19.

While COVID-19 fears mounted across the United States, Julie Billiart Schools prepared for the chance that classes could be disrupted in some way. Still, the announcement that all Ohio schools would close came as a shock to many.

“It was a little scary when we heard the announcement,” said Josh Mozzocco, a seventh grade Intervention Specialist at JB Lyndhurst. “To completely move our lessons online in two weeks was a feat, but we did it.”

All JB kindergarteners receive an email address that will follow them through their years at JB. As they advance into middle school and junior high, the students begin to use their email addresses to submit work, log in to approved education platforms, and correspond with their teachers. This technological preparedness has aided both the teachers and students.

Naturally, distance learning looks a little different for each child, each teacher, and each grade level. Kindergarten teachers are leveraging lessons in Google Classroom and take-home materials, while some of the older grades engage in interactive video lessons.Julie Billiart Schools therapists are offering virtual sessions and practice materials for students. Every teacher is committed to supporting their students through this.

“There is a silver lining to all of this. None of us would have wished for this situation, but it’s forcing our students to learn a very important life skill,” said Mozzocco. “Even five years ago, this would have been a huge thing to make a reality. But it’s happening, and our students are doing great.”

For Mozzocco, a typical day of distance learning starts with a video of that morning’s announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance. He talks with almost all of the junior high students every morning over Google Hangouts video or chat platform. He answers their questions and provides a sense of normalcy.

“Our main goal as junior high teachers is to Fill Buckets FIRST to make sure the kids are safe and happy, then help them with some fun school work,” he said.

After chatting with teachers, students engage in a blend of live, virtual classes, interactive sessions, and autonomous lessons. Each day, they’re assigned work in Google Classroom. Students are encouraged to use good time management, a skill they’ve been building for years at Julie Billiart Schools, to submit their work every Friday by 5 p.m. On Fridays, Junior High offers office hours for live help.

“We are also teaching online social etiquette and online social skills,” said Mozzocco. “We have to coach them and help shape behaviors, just like in regular school.”

JB educators recognize that this is one more hurdle for children who learn differently, but that with a foundation of classroom education and a blend of freshly practiced technological and social skills, the JB community can get through this together.

“Our kids deal with diversity every day. Diversity is a part of our education,” said Mozzocco. “This is just one more lesson for us, and we’re figuring it out.”

open-quote They have all the resources necessary, specialized to the individual learning of each child, and the heart that goes with it. I don't think we would have stayed in Ohio if it wasn't for JB! close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote My kids love everything about JB and look forward to going to school every day and seeing their friends and teachers. JB is truly a one of a kind school enriching young lives everyday. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how grateful I am that you saw my daughter for all that she is today and all that she is yet to become. close-quote

Tammie Sommer

open-quote All of the teachers and staff at JB are patient and willing to take the extra time to make sure we, as parents, understand and are comfortable. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools gave us hope after our daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability. At JB, she thrived in the small classes, received necessary therapies, and developed the self-confidence to ask for help when she needed it. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools has helped my child become a better version of himself. The teachers and therapists at JB really know and understand how to reach children who learn differently. close-quote

JB Parent

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