Distance Learning


St. Timothy's Approach to Distance Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In March of 2020, St. Timothy's School made the unprecedented move to close campus and transition to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to forward-thinking by our Board of Trustees and school administration, as well as a commitment to planning and flexibility by our teachers, we pivoted to distance learning within days of the announced change. Since distance learning commenced at St. Timothy's, we have ensured academic excellence and sustained our school values of community, service, and faith.


Student distance learningAs the possibility of distance learning became more likely, our faculty approached the change with a growth mindset. They quickly adapted to this new style of teaching, employing new tools, software and apps to make learning at home both effective and meaningful for students.
We created a secure online distance learning portal where parents could easily access schedules, syllabi, tutorials, updates, and other resources in one platform. To supplement the virtual experience, teachers and administrators continue to offer individual and group parent conferences and discussion opportunities to answer questions, receive feedback, and provide support.
Full-time distance learning is a significant change for the School, but we have remained committed to keeping the elements of a St. Timothy’s education consistent: teachers support the whole child academically as well as socially and emotionally through a variety of cross-community efforts, connection and engagement with one another and school faculty and staff. We continue to uphold and emphasize faith, hope and love—the three tenets that our school community has embraced for 60 plus years.
Lower School (PreK-4th)
  • Continuous learning of new content and assessment of key skills essential for the next grade level
  • Differentiated instruction to meet students where they are and challenge them to grow
  • Daily schedules of lessons and activities, including live, pre-recorded and independent activities in reading, writing, and math
  • Live, small-group opportunities for learning and social connections with peers
  • Weekly one-on-one teacher-student meetings 
  • Regular schedule of co-curricular classes (Spanish, Music, Art, Science Lab, and PE)
Middle School (5th-8th)
  • Continuous learning of new content and key skills essential for the next grade level
  • Weekly schedule with average of three live class sessions each day, addressing comprehensive curriculum in science, math, literature, grammar/writer's workshop, history, and Latin or Spanish
  • Live, small-group opportunities for learning
  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) small-group discussions and independent reflective work 
  • Daily check-ins with homeroom teacher and classmates
  • Weekly office hours with teachers to help and support students and parents as needed 
  • Weekly live fine art classes and asynchronous PE activities
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These STS students are so proud of their math work! 😍 #TitansConnected

A post shared by St. Timothy's School (@sttimsraleigh) on


Student drawing rainbows of hopeAt the heart of St. Timothy’s School is our community. It’s what keeps us strong even during challenging times. Below are some ways we keep students and parents connected to one another and to teachers and staff.
Parent-School Engagement
Division heads and school administrators continue to host virtual Coffee & Conversation gatherings throughout distance learning to garner  feedback and answer questions from parents. Additionally, we have surveyed parents four times to help us continuously improve the distance learning experience.

A Common Goal
To promote physical activity and bring the community together for a common goal, we created a school-wide walking challenge. Students, parents, faculty, grandparents, and alumni have logged the number of miles walked, jogged, run or biked. Weekly updates acknowledge success by different grades, populations and activity. 

Morning Meetings
Lower School morning meetings play a vital part in supporting our students. Based on responsive classroom, this time is dedicated for students to greet one another and their teachers, share thoughts and feelings, problem-solve and grow as a classroom family. These gatherings often set the tone for the day and allow students time to reflect and prepare before diving into their day ahead. Morning meetings continue once a week during distance learning and often included an extra twist: one day everyone wore sunglasses, and another day a second grader shared her violin talents with her class.

Ongoing Traditions: Titan Tags
First graders receive “Titan Tags” from their teachers to collect and wear on a necklace in recognition of important events and accomplishments. Determined to continue this tradition, first-grade teacher Mrs. Austin sent Titan Tags to students' homes. She wanted to be sure to recognize important events in their lives and to encourage her students to continue to have a growth mindset while learning from home.
Talking and Laughing with Peers
Administrative staff members volunteered to host grade-level “Titan Trivia” so  middle schoolers could maintain their social connections. Students also enjoyed “hanging out” in smaller groups for brain teasers and other games. One group of girls had fun dressing up as teachers and inviting the teachers to join them on their group call.
Student dressed up as teacher
Connecting Families
More than 70 families gathered virtually one Friday night for an evening of Titan Bingo. Families won prizes throughout the multiple Bingo rounds, and during breaks tested their knowledge of school and faculty facts with Kahoot quiz game. Participants even unmuted themselves to give a “Thank You” shout-out to essential workers!
With these and other initiatives such as the virtual prayer group,theme dress days, new grade-level Facebook groups, dance parties and helpful parent resources lists, our community continues to stay strong while apart.


Our commitment to service hasn’t stopped just because we aren’t on campus. We have introduced weekly service projects, both school-wide and within the virtual classroom.
Spreading Smiles in the Community
St. Timothy's fourth grader Miette painted 45 fairies and flowers that said "you are loved' for residents in her neighborhood senior housing complex who were on lockdown due to COVID-19.
Middle school art teacher Mrs. Balentine challenged her sixth through eighth grade artists to use their creative talents to spread love and words of encouragement throughout their community. Students rose to the challenge with sidewalk chalk messages, notes to postal workers, and more.
Note in the Pocket Virtual 5K
So many of our students joined head of school Tim Tinnesz’s team for the Note in the Pocket Virtual 5K run, that we received recognition as the largest registered team!
Rainbows of Hope
Our community joined the Rainbows of Hope movement to spread hope and honor essential workers. Students submitted photos of their rainbows crafted with sidewalk chalk, crayons, paint, legos, and other household items. We used social media to share these images with local hospitals.


Spiritual growth is an essential part of our mission, and a St. Timothy’s School experience would not be complete without weekly Chapel services for students. Teachers and students served as readers, and band students offered music. Families could watch these pre-recorded services at their convenience.
student readers for virtual chapel     Student playing flute