A 72-Hour Pivot to Online Instruction

kids in classroom with masks and desk surrounds

Led by Shannon N. Tabaldo, SOE’s iDEAL program helped the Diocese of Orange shift quickly to remote teaching for its 19,000 students

How quickly can K–12 teachers switch from traditional classroom instruction to entirely online? In collaboration with LMU School of Education’s iDEAL team, the Diocese of Orange was able to successfully implement the transition to online education in under three working days.

The decision to close the diocese schools due to the global COVID-19 pandemic was made on Friday, March 13, and by Wednesday, March 18, the schools in the diocese were in online mode, thanks in no small part to the dedicated digital team at SOE.

“When the school closures because of COVID-19 began, we connected with the Diocese of Orange, who wanted to know if we could support their schools,” said Shannon Tabaldo, founding director of the iDEAL Institute and director of digital curriculum integration and development. “In collaboration with the diocese we agreed to virtually deliver the ‘Moving from In-Person to Online Teaching and Learning’ workshops to their teachers.”

The Innovation in Digital Education and Leadership (iDEAL) Institute at LMU School of Education began five years ago, and usually delivers its instruction at in-person workshops; the team also coaches individuals both in person and online. “The collaboration between our LMU iDEAL Institute and the Diocese of Orange started with our work in blended learning with three schools,” said Tabaldo.

iDEAL Institute was scheduled to work with three schools in the Diocese of Orange as an on-site support provider of blended learning certificates, but ultimately delivered instruction online to 36 of the 41 diocesan schools over a couple of days. One of the online workshops “became the largest virtual live session we’ve ever held,” said Tabaldo, adding “we have not stopped since.”

In total, more than 300 educators came together virtually for digital training workshops and then, immediately put their learning into practice in their own online classrooms. The following week, the Diocese of Orange Catholic Schools had identified more supports that their teachers could use and iDEAL Institute created and delivered another two workshops “Engagement & Assessment for K-3 and 4-8”. In addition, a website of resources for parents will go live in the coming week.

The success of iDEAL Institute’s collaboration with the Diocese of Orange meant a smooth transition to online learning for its K–12 students. “I am very pleased that we were able to partner with our local Catholic university, Loyola Marymount University, for focused, professional development for our teachers in the area of distance learning,” said Erin Barisano, superintendent of schools for the diocese. “It is our goal to continue this professional development so our teachers feel supported, and to enable them to offer the best education possible to our children.”

“We value the collaborative relationship with the Diocese of Orange and we are looking forward to continuing to serve their schools,” said Shannon Tabaldo.