Using Renaissance Resources for Remote/Distance Learning

While our resources have been developed for in-class use, many of them can be adapted for remote or distance learning as well. The key, as always, is to strengthen connections and relationships.

The Harbor

Jostens customers have access to the full library of 160 episodes of the Harbor character education video series. Just log in to (contact your Jostens rep for log-in details), then go to “The Harbor” on the menu and “Latest Episodes” to see all the options. We recommend using the “Browse by Keyword” feature at the top of the episode listing to identify relevant topics to fit with your curriculum plans.

To use the episodes in the classroom, the teacher can log into the site and then stream the episode to watch it with the class. Alternatively, they could use the link in the lower right corner of each episode listing to download the episode to their download folder on their computer, and then play it during class. The Critical Thinking Guide for each episode can be printed and distributed as a writing assignment (the “Print Version”), or it can be displayed on screen (“Digital Version”) and used as class discussion prompts.

To use the episodes remotely, copying the link won’t work because the episodes aren’t set up to work without logging in. We recommend downloading the episode to a computer as an MP4 file, and then uploading it to Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, or another file-sharing program. We just ask that you only share them in a way that is limited to members of your school community, and set them up to be streamed, not downloadable. We recommend compressing the files if you can, since they are high-quality files that may be harder to stream for students without high-speed internet access.

The Critical Thinking Guide can also be used as a writing/reflection assignment. Just download the PDF (we recommend the “Print” version for this use) and share it with your students.

Harbor Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why am I having trouble streaming the videos?

A: The videos are set up for viewing using the Vimeo player. Some schools have restrictions that don’t allow for Vimeo use on school computers. You will need to download the video as an MP4 file and use another program to view it.

Q: Why can I only see a few Harbor episodes listed?

A: Sounds like you are set up with a trial account because you are not currently a Jostens customer. Your Jostens rep can provide a separate code to set up a trial account, which means you will only be able to see six Harbor episodes. We do currently have seven episodes and their Critical Thinking Guides available to help with Social Emotional Learning challenges during this difficult time; you and your students can visit for those links and guides. Be sure to use the “Rooted In Love” video made this spring to help students get through this tumultuous year.

Q: We’re thinking of using the Harbor as a basis for homeroom activities. Have you heard from other schools that did that?

A: Yes, we have, and the Harbor can be a great foundation of character education in homerooms. LaSalle Peru High School in Illinois had great success with this. Watch the Harbor Homeroom video from the Jostens Renaissance Virtual Conference to hear what they did and how it worked. Click here for a sheet with the first six seasons of episodes with keywords and descriptions, to help with planning. Also check out the Harbor section of the Idea Exchange for ideas from other schools that built school activities around Harbor episodes.

Q: Can Harbor episodes be used with middle school grade levels?

A: Yes, many middle schools are using Harbor episodes with great success. We just recommend that middle school teachers be sure to preview the episodes with their specific students in mind. Some of the episodes deal with topics such as abuse, suicide, and drug use, and younger students may not have the maturity to handle triggering feelings, especially if they are watching from home which may be the source of their trauma.


Leadership Curriculum

The Leadership Curriculum was designed to provide a plug-and-play curriculum for leadership classes, if you have them, but to also be flexible enough that lessons can be used in other classes as well. Each lesson has several different activities, and some could be done individually or in groups via Zoom. Many of the lessons also suggest using Harbor episodes. All of the lessons include a School Climate and Culture activity, which would work best for student leaders in the school but could certainly be done by other groups. Students could be challenged to come up with remote learning ways of meeting the goals of these assignments. There are several documents posted on the Leadership Curriculum home page that may be helpful for planning.


The Pulse Student Recognition Survey

The Pulse is meant to be taken in school, to measure how well students feel recognized, but can also be applied to a time of remote learning. The survey is set up on SurveyMonkey™ so it can easily be taken on a computer, tablet, or phone. You can use the standard questions, or you can set up custom questions related to student recognition, which includes feeling connected to others in the school. Here are some potential questions (they must be statements, with 1-5 Likert scale responses) that could be used to gauge how connected students and educators are feeling during distance learning.

  • I feel less connected to my school when I’m not in the school building every day.
  • My school’s staff is reaching out enough that I still feel like they care.
  • I would rather be in school than at home right now.
  • My peers are staying well-connected on our online learning system.
  • My peers are staying well-connected on social media.

Visit the Pulse home page or email [email protected] with questions.


Renaissance Kits

The Renaissance Kit program has been paused during the pandemic and will be re-evaluated going forward. Visit for more information, or contact [email protected] for digital resources from past kits.


How to Teach and Lead Remotely

Culture and climate is our main focus, but taking care of our staffulty also means easing their minds. For our virtual summer conference this year we asked our Renaissance community to send videos showing how they are teaching their subjects and staying connected with their students remotely. Click on this link for the How to Teach ___ Remotely collection of 20 videos from the Jostens Renaissance Virtual Conference (JRVC).


Other Virtual Resources

Our main page at has a variety of resources to help schools this year:

  • JRVC Videos On Demand – Dozens of videos on topics such as Culture, Identity, Staff Morale, Character Education, Social Emotional Learning, Student Motivation, Leadership, and Equity, including our recent webinar series covering many of these topics.
  • Tips for Building Community Remotely
  • Virtual Culture and Climate Series from the spring, with suggestions for helping schools with unanticipated challenges from day-to-day tools through graduation ceremonies.
  • A link to the Medal of Honor Character Development Program through our friends at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Their entire curriculum is free, all online, and features numerous character lessons that would be suitable for remote learning.




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