Schools gearing up to hold classes online
Rehel, center, receives a Chromebook computer for school from the staff at Everett’s Emerson Elementary School on Thursday, April 2 as little brother Rian looks on. The district sent 1,000 Chromebooks home with students that day and 4,000 Chromebooks in total
SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Whether by paper or by computer, schools will be restarting classes to continue educating thousands of children at home.
They’re using a slew of tools to engage students, and teachers are calling students to check on needs. Last week, for example, Snohomish teachers used Zoom and other videoconferencing tools to conduct lessons.
Some districts distributed paper lesson packets together with its meal distributions.
Statewide, students haven’t been inside a classroom since mid-March when Gov. Jay Inslee ordered campuses closed. They won't return this year and the closure is extended in the face of preventing the coronavirus the causes the disease COVID-19.
Continuing meal service and assisting with basic child care were the first-step actions school districts took. Work on rewriting the education delivery model to continue lesson plans started simultaneously.
Each district is filing an education plan with the state superintendent’s office, known by the acronym OSPI.
They’re obligated to provide an equitable learning experience. To do so, schools are working to ensure every child has access to the materials at home, and are loaning out hundreds of Chromebooks and laptops, plus WiFi hotspots to get onto the internet.
About 19 percent of Everett’s student population have picked one up so far — totaling 4,000 Chromebooks. In Snohomish, about 15 percent picked up computers. Monroe Schools is doing most of its distribution this week. These are computers the districts were using in classrooms before; technology levies paid for them.
Going online has turned the education model inside-out, Snohomish Superintendent Kent Kultgen said in a March 27 joint press briefing.
“It’s not going to replace the ‘child in the classroom; and I don’t think anybody intended it to, but it is — it’s going there, we’re trying to get technology to all of our kids ... we’re seeing (to it) that kids have their computers and internet access,” he said.
This week, most are on spring break.
School districts that missed days can end their school year as late as June 19.
“We have for the past few weeks said that we’re expecting (districts) to make up as many days they can through June 19,” state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction spokeswoman Katy Payne said, and the agency told districts they can easily ask to waive any missed days beyond that.
Snohomish Schools might end the year on June 17, district spokeswoman Kristin Foley said, but that’s not formalized.
High school seniors found everything upturned by the coronavirus.
Kultgen recognized that some “once in a lifetime” events like prom might not happen.
It’s not clear how final testing will be conducted. The latest information from the state superintendent’s office indicates seniors will take the end-of-year Smarter Balanced Assessment tests from late April to early June. Their younger peers won’t: the state superintendent’s office scrapped all of the other assessment tests planned for this year.
A few colleges have suspended requiring an SAT and ACT score for college admission. The May 2 SAT tests nationwide are canceled, its operator the College Board said. Advanced Placement tests are being conducted remotely online.
In a public message, the state’s superintendent Chris Reykdal emphasized to seniors: “Work hard, be as committed to your graduation as we are,” and to express compassion during these times.
Refer to the WIAA website.
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