MPS Considering Digital Learning Options During COVID-19 School Closure
School systems across Alabama are operating with uncertainty, as teachers and students are home for an unexpected break amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alabama students are out of school until April 6th under Governor Kay Ivey’s orders, though that is subject to change at a moments notice.
A task force lead by superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey has been assessing whether the break should be extended. Tuesday, the group met and gave its recommendations to the governor who will ultimately make the final decision no later than Monday, a state education spokesperson confirmed.
Like many school systems, Montgomery Public School officials are already considering “what’s next?” if the break is extended.
With no classroom instruction, teachers are asking parents to help bridge the gap with learning at home. The push is being echoed by leadership too. “We know that they are not in school so we want to make sure they are reading and they are engaging with concepts in math, science, social studies and they are being active as they would in a physical education classroom” explained MPS Chief Academic Officer, Bernard Mitchell.
MPS students should be familiar with a digital learning portal called “Clever” he said, encouraging parents to make sure their students take advantage of the site each day. Some teachers are sending home packets of school work, and exploring the possibility of teaching online or through video chat. That comes with its own set of challenges though, because teachers can not grade any of the work assigned during a break, and Mitchell says some schools simply don’t have the resources to make sure all students have access to technology like laptops or tablets.
“Some of our schools have that ability but not all schools” he explained “so we are researching ways to rotate tools with our students where they may check them out and bring them back and rotate them to a new set of students”.
Students will still return to school playing catch-up. Mitchell says he and other MPS leaders are considering how to hurdle that obstacle. “We want to make sure, that every child has the opportunity to move on to the next grade level” he said, “but it may mean that we have to catch-up this Summer or even to begin the new year”.