NC Independent School Launches Worldwide Online Model for Student in Grades 7-12


Independent school (Pre-K-12th Grade) Prepared for Shutdown Weeks Ahead of COVID-19 Outbreak in U.S

(Greensboro, NC) – Greensboro Day School (GDS), an independent day school founded 50 years ago, announced today that its 2020-2021 school year will offer online enrollment open to students around the globe – GDS Online. The online comprehensive college preparatory academic program is available for qualified students in grades 7-12. The program can be taken as a full-time student, as a part-time student seeking to supplement a current program of study or a single course. More information found here.

The launch of GDS Online is made possible by the school’s recent acquisition of iPads and Swivl devices that will allow teachers to seamlessly stream classes and include classroom interactions. The Swivl device acts as a dock for the iPad, following the speaker around the room, and uploading recordings to the web. Faculty will begin Swivl training this summer.

“Outside of the recent COVID – 19 interruption to on campus-learning, we recognize a great demand for online courses,” said Head of School Tracie Catlett. “This new program allows GDS to greatly broaden its reach particularly to rural communities in the greater Greensboro, NC area. Students outside of North Carolina and the United States can apply for admission to GDS Online too. Naturally, GDS Online means that we will be fully prepared should a resurgence of COVID-19 occur this fall. GDS is celebrating 50 years since its founding. Our relative youth is best demonstrated by the cutting-edge nature of this program and our response to COVID-19 pandemic that began in March.”

In January 2020, months before COVID-19 made its way to the United States, the school’s administrative team went through crisis training with Joffe Emergency Services. In February, Catlett finalized a schoolwide contract with Zoom so that GDS was able to integrate the program into day-to-day learning. She also contacted schools in Korea and Italy to look into the “future” of how international schools were handling distance learning. Two weeks before North Carolina’s school closures, faculty and students had already practiced virtual learning while in the classroom.

Upon the conclusion of spring break, families embarked upon a virtual learning program that incorporated independent study time, wellness, and physical activity. A forward-thinking school, GDS launched a Pop-Up-Learning Series to keep the community informed and connected through conversations with local and national experts. The school also provided a technology hotline to parents to help with any questions. Likewise, the school did not have to furlough any employees and plans to open the 2020-21 school year with full employment.