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A look at learning in Mapleton!

Bathroom break The start of the 2020-2021 school year has been unlike any other. New health and safety regulations guided by Mapleton’s Roadmap to Reopening has led the staff at Welby Community School to get creative and rethink their traditional classroom schedules and learning spaces.

Welby is uniquely positioned to offer its students learning experiences without boundaries with the recent addition of the Welby Learning Park. Nature-based play spaces such as the Learning Park are designed to connect students to the natural resources around them. The Welby Learning Park, which features demonstration gardens, pollinator gardens, bird and bat houses, outdoor classrooms and a pathway, was made possible through generous donations from the Adams County Open Space Grant and a partnership with the National Park Service River Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

Classroom learning Going into the new school year, Welby’s staff knew they wanted to utilize their amazing outdoor space as much as possible given the new health and safety precautions. As a result, Welby divided its outdoor space into specific zones that teachers can sign up for through a shared calendar. Teachers may use each zone to host outdoor classes such as gym, art, instructional mask breaks and more. Welby staff members also purchased gym equipment and outdoor art materials for each classroom, to really help learning ‘bloom.’ These outdoor innovations have also been incorporated to students’ routines, to make the transition into the new school year as safe and seamless as possible.

As Mapleton’s reopening plan explains, limiting interactions and keeping students with their specific groups throughout the day is crucial for keeping everyone in the school building safe and healthy. The particular design of Welby Community School has allowed staff to designate a specific entrance and exit for each grade level, minimizing the interactions between groups. Welby has also turned its library into an additional learning space for second grade students and implemented a bathroom pass for each grade that limits the number of students in a bathroom at a time to one. Additionally, Welby is piloting the iDismiss app which allows teachers to manage the dismissal process through a simple and efficient system managed on cell phones and tablets. The system provides a daily time stamp and documentation oversight to ensure the accountability of each student.

Staff is aware that the new regulations will continue to evolve and get better throughout the year, however they could not be more pleased with how the 2020-2021 school year has started!

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