Distance/eLearning

Published: February 5, 2019

Dear UCCCJSD Families,

I hope everyone is well in your homes, and you are defrosting from the frigid temperatures last week.

You are likely aware that we have missed 5 days of school and need to make plans for making up those days.

Recently, we put out a survey to students, parents, and staff about holding school on 2/18, even though it was previously noted as a “no school day.” The survey yielded over 500 responses, with about 70% in favor of school and about 30% opposed to school on that day. Many people commented in that survey, “what about eLearning?” As a result of those comments, we put out a second survey asking parents, students, and staff what they thought about eLearning. That survey had over 400 responses and yielded about 81% in favor of, and about 19% opposed to eLearning. Based on this information, there is obvious support amongst the majority of our district to at least try eLearning. Thank you all very much for your time in responding and sharing comments!

Interestingly, the phrase “eLearning” sounds technology specific. However it truly is a distance learning day of activities. Technology can be and is often, used, but other means (like book assignments) are also a regular practice. Alternatives to technology, like book assignments, are often used especially for those with limited internet access, or in the case where the distance/eLearning day is scheduled ahead of time.

As a result, of everyone’s feedback, and due to the number of days we have missed, we are going to hold a distance/eLearning day on 2/18. Students will not report to school on 2/18. Instead students will complete structured work from their home. In preparation for this first-time activity, students and staff will practice distance/eLearning together at school before 2/18. After our practice day teachers will specifically craft work for students to complete on or around 2/18. Each building and each grade level is a little different, and so the requirements will be specifically designed for each class by the teachers. The requirements will be very clearly communicated to students and shared with parents (at appropriate grade levels) before we end the school week on 2/15. Students will be able to ask questions before and after 2/18 with the assignment due date later in the week of 2/18.

I know this is new and often anything new can produce challenges. I too have some mixed feelings about distance/eLearning. However, we have an obligation to provide our students with real world experiences, and the reality for them is they will benefit as college students, or working adults having experienced this type of responsibility. We also have an obligation to respond to ideas and requests from our constituency, and this is something that is desirable by a large majority our community. That being said, I am putting my apprehensions aside for us to try something new, and somewhat innovative. I ask you to do the same!

Finally, please know we will work with all of you to accommodate any sort of special needs you or your student(s) need to make this a successful experience, including lack of connectivity. Standby for more specific details coming from your individual teachers, and buildings. There will also be more information posted on our website. Please make us aware of any special needs you may have. After we review this event we will then communicate the plans for the other make-up days.

Thank you so very much for your continued support!

Sincerely,

Christopher Winchell, Superintendent