The Somersfield Academy Distance Star Learning Plan describes how Somersfield Academy (SA) will ensure continuity of learning when a significant portion of our school community cannot be in school for an extended period of time. The school is committed to offering a high-quality Montessori and IB education to students through distance learning, even in extenuating circumstances.

As distance learning is very different, in many ways, from face-to-face learning, this document describes what this looks like.

We use the term “distance learning” as opposed to e-learning, virtual or online learning because, while technology tools are key components to distance learning, the learning engagements also take place offline using a variety of non-digital tools and resources.

Use of Distance Learning:  Distance learning will be implemented if/when the school building is closed and learning needs to continue. It may also be used if a large majority of students or teachers are unable to come to school or for those who are still in school, in order to provide and ensure a consistent learning experience for all.

Whether by distance or by face-to-face instruction, the school’s overarching Mission, Vision and Promise remain our “Guiding Stars”!




The goal of our Distance Learning Program is not to try to recreate face-to-face (F2F) classrooms. Attempting to simply substitute digital tools for in-person interactions is unrealistic.  Instead, the objective is to use online and blended learning strategies to provide opportunities for our learners to work more independently, expand their agency, and demonstrate their learning through the use of tools and strategies that they otherwise might not use in the F2F classroom setting.

Towards this end, teachers are encouraged to use their innovation and creativity to develop lessons that motivate and engage their students. Further to this, teachers are encouraged to be adaptive and responsive to the needs of their students, and to ensure that learning and development continues seamlessly and in a healthy and positive way.

How we manage distance/online learning and teaching

While teachers and learners may not be together in the same physical space and are unable to rely on face-to-face communication, learning can still be rigorous and effective. Recognizing how it differs is important to ensuring its effectiveness.

Somersfield Academy has, therefore, adopted two distinct distance learning/online learning and teaching approaches which seek to achieve an appropriate balance. 


These are:

  1. Synchronous (happening collaboratively and at the same time with a group of online learners and usually a teacher)

  2. Asynchronous (happening at any time, not necessarily in a group, but with teacher feedback. This includes packets, worksheets and online resources).


The teacher, in consultation with the Division Head and/or the Curriculum Coordinator, will plan the most appropriate tools and vehicles by which to deliver effective teaching and learning.

How we ensure students are not disadvantaged by online and distance teaching

Effective distance/online teaching requires different activities from face-to-face interactions and some of this is delivered online. Learners, however, may be disadvantaged if they are not provided with certain resources for online learning:

  • Access to devices appropriate for online learning.  This is imperative and the school will seek to provide as much support as we can.

  • Internet access and adequate bandwidth (speed). Poor bandwidth can make many synchronous activities very difficult. For students whose homes have poor bandwidth, a combination of asynchronous activities and email check-ins provides more support.

  • Friendly schedules - Adapted teaching schedules and shorter class times have proven to be more effective in online learning situations. If class meeting times are combined with collaborative activities, students are more likely to log on and complete tasks or discussions.

  • Effective feedback. Students will get valuable feedback automatically from online quizzes as well as direct comments or discussion from peers and teachers.

  • Opportunities for independent learning. Teachers are encouraged to design engaging learning activities and discussions that capture students’ experiences. This gives teachers valuable feedback on how the students are feeling and also provides opportunities for multiple perspectives in learning that might not happen if students were all physically together.




Students and parents can expect regular communication from their teachers.  Clear direction from teachers will be communicated and posted. Students will need to access respective platforms daily to find lessons, resources and assignments.

Students are expected to be proactive in seeking out the information they need. Students should not expect for teachers to email alerts or reminders to students, as new information will be posted daily.

Outside of online activities, it is expected that students will get off the computer, be active and learn in non-digital ways.


Learning experiences that involve physical activities, resources, or spaces:

Physical activity is critical for healthy development. As such, teachers will endeavor to assign activities and discussions that enable students to engage in physical experiences and collect evidence of and reflections on what they have done. This will be applied in all age groups, and will be dependent on the amount of supervision students will need to conduct physical activities both indoors and outdoors – if allowed.

For younger learners, special software that uses video evidencing and adult reflection may be used. Parents or guardians will need to supervise younger learners in their play and learning activities—with the teacher providing some basic guidelines on what to observe. The teacher may also set up video conferencing with learners and guardians to discuss the children’s development.




Leadership Team

  • Establish clear channels of communication with Division Heads and Subject Coordinators

  • Support faculty, students and families as we shift to a distance learning environment. 

  • Help teachers implement distance learning plans and check on learning experiences for all students.

  • Monitor Quality of Instruction and Plans

  • Monitor Faculty attendance - report any illnesses; ensure a substitute is available to conduct the lesson

  • Monitor student absences – report illnesses 



  • Facilitate one synchronous lesson for students in each class per week

  • Post work for distance learning twice per week for each class

  • Post all assignments on respective portal and update completion status

  • Communicate regularly with students and, as needed, with their parents

  • Provide timely feedback to support students’ learning (cc Learning Support for relevant students)

  • Collaborate with Learning Support teachers to ensure effective differentiation

  • Engage with the tech facilitator/Anthony for additional support

  • Advisory teachers to check in with their students twice a week


Learning Support

  • Facilitate synchronous sessions with learning support students regularly to support them during distance learning

  • Available to consult with subject teachers and offer to assist in removing barriers to distance learning (e.g. scaffolding, chunking or adapting assignments)



  • Serve as liaison for communication with students/families in possible health/emotional crisis

  • Develop and tailor recommendations to teachers and administration based on specific crises (What are talking points for parents? How can teachers respond? How can support from counsellors be requested?)

  • Support Division Heads and Coordinators in following up on students who are not engaging with distance learning



  • Collaborate with colleagues to find and post resources for high-quality distance learning experiences and research

  • Regularly check in with subject and classroom teachers to identify ways to support their design of distance learning experiences

  • Maintain and update online library site for obtaining resources

  • Be available for teachers and students as needed for support


Tech support

  • Continually monitor the needs of teachers, students and parents and troubleshoot their challenges, as needed

  • Be available remotely to provide on-demand tech support help

  • Review and develop tools and how-to tutorials, ensuring access to the necessary instructions to succeed in a distance learning environment




Primary School

Roles and Responsibilities (Primary School Parents)

Parents can support their child/ren in their learning by:

  • Providing an environment conducive to learning (access to technology, safe and quiet space during daytime).

  • Providing access to a device

  • Monitoring communications from your child’s teachers

  • Engaging in conversations on posted materials, assignments.

  • Monitoring time spent engaging in online and offline learning,

  • Supporting emotional balance by providing ample room and time for reflection, physical activity, conversation, and play.



Secondary Division

Roles and Responsibilities (Secondary School Parents)

Parents can support their child/ren in their learning by:

  • Providing an environment conducive to learning (access to technology, safe and quiet space during daytime)

  • Providing access to a device

  • Monitoring communications from your child’s teachers

  • Monitor Managebac to view assignments and task completion status

  • Engaging in conversations on posted materials, assignments

  • Monitoring time spent engaging in online and offline learning

  • Supporting emotional balance by providing ample room and time for reflection, physical activity, conversation, etc.

Who to contact?

A course, an assignment, a resource:    Relevant teacher – please use email

A technology issue/request:  Anthony Outerbridge; Tech. Teacher

Any issue related to distance learning: Division Head/ Curriculum Coordinator