Distance Learning Dean: Ed Brown

In order to expand our support of students enrolled in distance learning this fall, Old Trail created the positions of division-specific, distance learning cohort deans.
The deans serve critical roles as advisors and advocates for distance learning students and work to ensure that their experiences are meaningful and aligned with the curriculum of their peers who are learning on campus.

Ed Brown had taught middle school science at OTS for a number of years before transitioning to his new role as Middle School Distance Learning Cohort Dean. We recently checked in with him to see how the adjustment from the classroom to virtual space has been for him and his students.
How have you adjusted to your new role as a distance learning dean?
“I've been enjoying my new role very much. I get to do all the things I really enjoyed as a teacher: I work with students in a way that promotes both academic and social growth; I work with families to ensure that their children are getting the most out of the experience; and I get to work with other teachers to learn about their curriculum.”
What do you like most about your new role?
“My favorite part about my new role is getting to spend Cohort Hour with the students. Each group has a different personality and I get to know the students' interests, strengths and struggles in a much broader sense than I did as a single-subject classroom teacher. Our time together casts a wide range of activities that keeps me entertained and engaged – ranging from the academic (math tutoring or advising how to phrase an email to a teacher) to the very non-academic (losing terribly in a game of Bonk or helping choose the Netflix Party movie for the weekend). It has been wonderful.”
How have Middle School students adjusted to the distance learning program this fall?
“The students are really enjoying the Distance Learning model. They have more freedom in choosing their school work schedule and have a wide range of options for lunch, PE and study halls that the in-school students do not (the benefits that only your own home can provide). The teachers have been so good about communicating with students whenever there are questions and our students feel very supported at home. They are also learning how to manage their workload and self-advocate through this experience. The students enjoy each others' company, and they are developing and fostering new friendships. They support each other with their school work, and they come up with ways to connect outside of the classroom setting too.”

Old Trail School is an independent day school (toddler through grade eight) located in the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.