Recently I was provided an opportunity to complete a survey on my thoughts on reopening YCJUSD for the 2020-2021 school year. Based on the options provided in this survey, online learning would be required for my child in the 2020-2021 academic year due to an immunocompromised household. However, what we experienced as a family at the end of this school year was not practical, student-centric, or focused on successful outcomes. The online materials for the first two weeks filled a three and a half-inch binder for my child’s school and grade. There was no clear direction on what was required, so my child completed everything. The materials provided consisted of assignments with no context or instruction with only answer keys for some of the math worksheets. While I was able to supply the direction and guidance needed to complete the tasks, not all parents are equipped or able to do this. Once my child switched to classroom work, the use of the google classroom was disjointed, mismanaged, not timely, and there was limited contact with my child’s teacher. 30 minutes to an hour of unstructured instruction is unacceptable. If my child spends eight hours learning, I would appreciate the teacher being available during these times for questions. When questions are asked via email, a response is reasonably expected within 24-48 business hours. As a full-time working single parent, the education my child obtained this last trimester was courtesy of my mother and me. This is unacceptable!
Based on the “emergency remote learning” practiced since March, I wholeheartedly believe that students and faculty interaction should not be asynchronous in a K-12 setting. If the plan is to move forward with an online or hybrid environment next year, I have a few recommendations for YCJUSD.
1.) Ensure that the online classroom is structured reasonably and intuitively to allow students and parents to keep track of deliverables
2.) Assignments and emails should be graded or at least acknowledged within the academic week
3.) Live classroom instruction should accompany any assigned work to allow students the opportunity to learn materials before being asked to show proficiency.
4.) Resources should be made available as needed when using third-party vendors.
5) ELA and Special Education could and should still be held on campus in small classes to meet their unique educational needs.
Please know that I appreciate YCJUSD and the many dedicated teachers that are striving to make the best out of a chaotic situation. We have time to complete the needed training and development, system requirement analysis, and logistical overhaul over the summer months to ensure a clean start to the new Academic Year. As we move into the “new normal,” we need to ensure that we can meet student and family needs as well as curriculum requirements.
Dr. Dezi Waterhouse