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Considerations for Remote Passages

Part of the Sharing Learning Across Distance Collection

We believe that right now, students can share their learning to support ritual and connection, academic and character growth, and to reclaim agency in a time they may feel powerless. 

What to Keep, What to Change, What to Let Go Of

Schools in the EL Education network that use Passages as a structure for deep student reflection and for celebrating milestone transitions (e.g.., moving from elementary to middle school, or, at 10th grade, entering the second half of high school)  are deciding what to do this spring. All schools in states that will not resume face-to-face instruction this year are considering how to offer students a sense of meaningful closure, and how to both honor and mitigate the sense of loss students may have at missing out on rituals like Passages or graduation.

Passage presentations are often a requirement for moving on from the relevant grade; the framing is along the lines of “prove that you are ready for what’s next.” In a time when students, families, and teachers and leaders are dealing with the upheaval of not only school closure but whatever this crisis has meant in their own lives beyond school, the frame of “proof” isn’t feeling aligned with the care and connection most schools are prioritizing. 

We are seeing a pattern emerging: partners are planning to retain the passage process, and often the “requirement,” but shifting what’s involved to be only what is both essential to the “heart” of passages at that school, and a process that all students have access to.  

We are supporting partners as they make decisions, and learning alongside them. Here, we offer a set of steps (which might happen in a different order) that is proving supportive, with details for each step in "Considerations for Remote Passages" (google doc) :

  1. Name what’s at the heart of Passages for your school. 
  2. Name what you think students and families need in order to end this year with closure, heart, and hope for the future
  3. Use what you’ve named to modify existing criteria lists, rubrics, and support documents (and let go of the rest).
  4. Offer lots of options.
  5. Create a model if you can.

Find details for each step in "Considerations for Remote Passages" (google doc).

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We are learning alongside you about what sharing learning across distance looks like.  We would like to continue to build these Collections as our collective efforts evolve. We welcome your contributions: anything you have created to support students during this time is something someone else might learn from. Use this form or email Sarah Norris at snorris@eleducation.org.

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