Looking for a way to not only help ninth-graders study and learn but to acclimate to the OES experience and meet their classmates, Upper School faculty continue to hold weekly study pods for our newest community members. Each Wednesday, ninth-graders are invited briefly to campus to safely gather, work on group projects, ask questions, study together, and more.
“Many of the students who have joined our study pods have become regulars and come back each week. Others have been able to see the gatherings as a resource or strategy to use when a week is more busy or stressful,” Upper School Learning Resource Coordinator Meghan Powers said. “Students can do work independently, get support from me, [Assistant Head of Upper School Academics] Liz Weiler, teachers, or peers. Some students come to campus to do their group work together in person, or meet on campus for a small study group during pod time.”
Many of the students who are joining the study pods are new to OES, said Powers.
“Seeing them able to develop and grow these new friendships and relationships with their peers has been a really wonderful part of in-person learning,” Powers said. “An added bonus is that they are getting familiar with a school that is also new to them.”
The pods are about more than just schoolwork. Students in small groups have been able to tour the campus to learn the different buildings in which they will eventually be attending classes.
“Being new to the Upper School can be a difficult transition on its own each year,” Powers said. “So for the ninth-graders, having a chance just to get on campus and talk to one another—and hopefully do some studying, as well—has seemed to have a really positive impact on their energy during the rest of the week.”
One example of students helping peers was during a study break when a socially distant four-square game was invented, using feet instead of hands for soccer-style moves.
“It was silly and fun and they made sure to include and invite in any students who were on the fringes,” Powers said. “I was particularly moved when a ninth-grade student who attended our Middle School went out of their way to make a student [who went to another middle school] feel encouraged to play and cheered them on.”