MIDDLETOWN – Teamwork, quick thinking, cooperation and preparedness allowed Mater Dei Prep to implement online learning for students and faculty members with relative ease once Gov. Phil Murphy closed schools in the face of a global pandemic in March, according to a press release from the school.
“Our teachers spent four days putting together a process and plan to ease the transition from in-school learning to virtual learning,” Head of Advancement Jen DeBiase said.
“With the time constraint that was thrown at them, they navigated beautifully through the process and did not skip a beat,” she said.
The school’s goal was to maintain as much normalcy as possible and promote open
communication with its community regarding the virtual learning process, according to the press release.
“There are a lot of positives about virtual learning,” history teacher Michael Bonelli said. “I think it fostered a new sense of responsibility in some students who (became) hyper-aware they had to be online at a certain time and get their work in on time.”
“I’m amazed at the resilience many students showed during the transition,” said Bryan Scotton, a religion teacher. “Although face-to-face classroom instruction can never be replaced, my students were on top of their work. My co-workers all adapted so well and were so helpful. There was still a sense of community amidst our isolation.”
“Online learning forced me to better my time management skills,” said Peter Gorman, who plans to use those improved skills in college this fall, according to the press release.
“Starting online schooling was a huge adjustment, but a great aspect about Mater Dei Prep is our teachers,” said senior Summer Schiappacasse. “My teachers were available 24/7 to help me, to answer my questions and to assure me it was all going to be OK.”
In other news, Mater Dei Prep announced that the new coordinator of the Center for Achievement (CFA) is Catherine O’Brien.
The CFA was established and introduced to the Mater Dei Prep community in 2010 as a resource to address the unique learning abilities of each student, according to a press release.
The CFA staff supports students in developing the tools to be successful in their classes, as well as fostering student independence and developing self-advocacy skills in high school and beyond, according to the press release.
O’Brien brings 15 years of experience in the field of education, teaching elementary, high school and college students. O’Brien is a current English teacher at Mater Dei Prep.
“Classroom teaching has provided a solid foundation for other work experiences and challenges for my future in the field of education. As our student population at Mater Dei Prep reflects a wide range of ability, I consider myself experienced to craft programs that will address students’ individualized learning needs,” O’Brien said.