The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
COVID-19 Parent Resources

About Distance Learning at Fay

Make sure your child's next school year is a productive one - whether it's in person or online.

Fay School is planning to be open in September, but if the pandemic requires schools to close, our distance learning program is designed to keep students on track, with appropriate challenge and supervision. With daily live sessions and engaging content, Fay students are building foundational skills and learning to be critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.

Here at Fay, we're careful to make the distinction between distance learning and home schooling, since the term "home schooling" implies that the parents are responsible for their children’s learning!

We’ve structured our program so that teachers continue to be responsible for delivering new material in daily live classes, and assignments are designed so students are able to complete them independently. We’re sensitive to the fact that many parents - who are trying to manage their own jobs in an uncertain time - are feeling burdened by the idea of educating their children at home. We remind our parents that while they can help their children stick to a routine at home, our teachers are there every day to deliver the content and provide the necessary support.

About Distance Learning at Fay

Fay School’s Distance Learning Program is designed to keep students connected, engaged, and supported. While it features different components appropriate to each division and grade levels, it is consistent in maintaining Fay routines and expectations, offering meaningful learning experiences, providing student support, and recognizing the developmental stage of each child.

We launched distance learning at the end of March 2020, and our students are on track to complete their required grade-level content by the end of the academic year.

Our program includes required learning modules as well as optional activities that offer students a balance of on-screen and off-screen time. Daily live classes are scheduled to take place in real time with teachers providing active support in the moment, while other lessons and activities are self-scheduled and self-paced. 

Detailed information about Fay’s Distance Learning Program is available at www.fayschool.org/distancelearning
 

FAQ - Distance Learning at Fay

List of 4 items.

  • How have your teachers modified their teaching methods to make the most of distance learning?

    It has been exciting to see our teachers make the most of the digital resources as they inspire our students. Teachers are pre-recording lessons, producing instructional videos, and hosting live work sessions and “breakout rooms” in Zoom to foster collaborative work and group discussions. They are moving beyond traditional worksheets and assessments with assignments that harness students’ creativity. A few examples are below:

    The seventh graders in our Creators Class (a required engineering and design course and part of our
    Creativity and Design curriculum) were challenged to present a creative solution for opening a door - here are some examples of what they came up with.

    In their English class, ninth graders were challenged to take a photograph of the view outside their windows and then write descriptive paragraphs reflecting on the pandemic and incorporating new vocabulary (You can read some examples here).
  • Do you practice synchronous lessons (fully interactive sessions) or use an asynchronous learning environment (first post educational videos, then students can participate when they are ready)?

    In our Primary School (Kindergarten - Grade 2) and Lower School (Grades 3-6), our program includes a mix of synchronous and asynchronous lessons.

    We have a unique situation in our Upper School (Grades 7-9), as our 275 students hail from 24 countries and numerous time zones. While some math, science, Latin, and English classes are synchronous, most lessons are asynchronous so students can access them at a time that is appropriate for them. Our Upper Schoolers follow a daily schedule that includes blocks of time dedicated to each course, but the schedule runs
    in their own time zone so students can maintain healthy sleeping and working hours. 
     
    To balance the asynchronous learning in Upper School, we’ve incorporated three synchronous elements to the school day to ensure that every student has live, on-screen time with their teachers every day:

    Advisory Meetings
    : Twice each week, faculty members and students meet live in advisory groups of 6-8 students. These groups are the same groups that meet during a traditional school year. The advisor serves as the primary point person for these students and checks in frequently with teachers and parents to make sure each student is staying on track, academically and emotionally.

    Faculty Drop-Ins: Every faculty member offers morning and evening live drop-in times, where students can ask questions about course material. Students are required to attend at least one of these extra help sessions per class, per week to ensure that teachers are staying connected to their students.

    Morning Meetings: These events take place once per week, alternating between morning and evening times to accommodate the range of time zones represented in our community. Morning Meetings are for all 275 students and are run by our student government leaders. They include key school announcements as well as spirit-building events and arts performances from students and teachers. When school is in session on campus, these meetings take place three mornings per week.
  • How do you get feedback from your students?

    Of course, face-to-face interaction offers the best immediate feedback when it comes to assessing student understanding and engagement. In the absence of this option, our teachers actively seek feedback from their students using live Zoom teleconferencing sessions as well as written reflections. Our regular advisory meetings (see response above) are an ideal time for faculty to hear from students about how distance learning is going. We have also conducted formal and informal surveys with our students and parents, and we have used this feedback to refine our distance learning program over the past few weeks.
  • Overall, is online learning more efficient than traditional classroom sessions?

    “Efficient” is a tricky word. Fay teachers are less concerned about efficiency than about making sure that each student has a thorough understanding of the material. It is true that with some pre-recorded lessons and straightforward assignments, a student might be able to learn content more quickly. However, our teachers’ focus is on critical thinking and creative problem-solving, so they are constantly connecting with students to challenge and extend their understanding. For example: you might think that math could be delivered more quickly and efficiently using an online model, but at Fay, our math teachers take a problem-based learning approach, where students master challenging new content by solving problem sets and then discussing their solutions in a discussion-based format. Our teachers are continuing to follow this model (despite the challenges of asynchronous learning) which takes more time, but which, we believe leads to better comprehension. As a result, our students have the skills to tackle the most challenging new math problems they face in high school and beyond.
     
    • "Fay

      "Fay's distance learning program has proven to be truly incredible. The faculty has gone above and beyond in every way imaginable...academically, socially, and emotionally, bringing empathy, humor, and ingenuity to create meaningful learning in continued connection with the Fay community." - Fay parent of first and fifth grade students

Fay School is an independent, co-educational school in Southborough, Massachusetts, serving students in Kindergarten through grade nine. Fay offers a broad and balanced program that provides a foundation for a meaningful life. The boarding program, an option in grades 7-9, is an integral part of school life, uniting students from across the United States and 24 countries in a lively, diverse, and truly multicultural community.

Like other schools in Massachusetts, Fay's campus is closed for the rest of the school year, and our students are currently participating in our distance learning program. We are planning to be in session on campus in September and will continue to observe guidelines established by the CDC and local authorities. If necessary, we are prepared to continue our distance learning program.

Fill out the form below to learn more about Fay's Distance Learning Program.