When Peddie closed campus last month due to COVID-19, the ramifications required savvy and immediate action. Anticipating a disruption to our spring schedule, Peddie planned well and was prepared: Our teachers flipped to online connected classrooms without missing a single day, our technology department worked tirelessly to institute online learning platforms, our residential life staff mailed essential items to students across the globe and more.
COVID-19’s wake was the catalyst for the Steady Peddie Fund, a new fund which provides financial assistance to the community in times of unexpected need. Thanks to this restricted fund, Peddie can respond to emergencies in a timely and compassionate manner.
To ensure seamless continuity in their coursework, Peddie first made sure our students and faculty had the academic necessities that would allow them to work remotely, wherever they were. This included tech equipment, class supplies such as calculators and wi-fi hotspots to those who didn’t have internet access.
Visual arts teachers Cathy Watkins and Joyce Chen sent packages filled with arts supplies to students. Alan Michaels, director of the music department, shipped instruments and photography teacher Craig Dale mailed cameras to students all over the world. These essentials allowed faculty to teach as if students were on campus.
Next, to make sure our students were able to connect with their classes, Peddie spent resources on our virtual learning contracts — critical for our online success, said Associate Head of School Catherine Rodrigue. Students and teachers were quickly able to connect and thrive from virtual classrooms.
“Having the resources available to ship the necessary tools to students was the key to enable teachers and students to experience a relatively seamless transition into the spring term,” said Michaels. “As a result, despite learning at a distance, student engagement and progress have been robust, enthusiastic and on target.” Thanks to the planning and efforts of school leadership and faculty, no Peddie classes were cancelled this term.
When the Admission Office wasn't able to host newly accepted students on campus, webinars were added, helping the students connect with campus and our community through informative online faculty presentations and fun, interactive testimonials with current students.
The Steady Peddie Fund will live on as a safeguard in times of unanticipated need. But for now, it serves the Peddie community during COVID-19, inspiring gratitude not just from faculty and staff, but from parents like Cordelia Wu P’21.
“Forbes has gotten his computer, which was one-day delivered by the Tech Department,” she said. “It is amazing how Peddie helps students in this situation. Perfect and efficient!”