Anderson District One Schools coping with new ways of learning

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The Anderson School District One Board met Tuesday evening in a video conference where they heard a school closure report from the Superintendent and an e-learning report from the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction on how the District is coping with school closures and e-learning for students.
Superintendent Robbie Binnicker said, “This is an unprecedented time we are in. I have an absolute super team here in the District Office and Administrators. We have spent an enormous amount of time working on technology.”
Binnicker said the district had some technology issues going from normal operations and classroom learning to e-learning at home because “eighty-five percent of it we have never seen before.”
Binnicker said they have held a lot of web-ex (the platform used for this meeting) meetings with principals, teachers, faculty and staff where they made decisions on instruction and grading. They also provided information for teachers, students and parents. “We have tried to reduce the stress of parents, students and employees,” he said.
“We want to make sure that what we do as school district is not adding to the stress at home.”
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jane Harrison provided information on  “what’s hot and what’s not” for Distance Learning and COVID-19 and gave a timeline schedule on what was done to prepare after the Governor announced on Sunday, Mar. 15 that all state schools were being closed.
The next day teachers were trained and gathered lessons. On Tuesday and Wednesday they had elearning days and choice board. Thursday (Mar. 19) was the first day of new learning. She said that Friday, May 1 is the Governor’s current anticipated date to return.
Harrison said that “what’s hot” is “lessons and new elearning” however the what’s not side of that “is stressed out parents.” She said Friday is a catch up day for students with teachers being available for office hours. The down side is some students don’t have adult support.
She said teaching with WebEx and Zoom Classes has been “hot”, though the “not” is that some students have no internet access. Harrison said several mobile hot spot devises have been given to families without internet and wifi is being made available in school parking lots.
“We are doing everything we can think of to help our parents,” she said.
The District is also offering virtual field trips and books, and doing what they can with the technology, additional bandwidth and filters that are available. She said “what’s not hot about technology, is when it doesn’t work.”
The Google platform being used by District One and many other schools across the nations, was down nationwide for one day.
She said that the new elearning is working, “students are missing their teachers and teachers are missing their students.” Harrison said some teachers have organized school parades where teachers are driving through neighborhoods. Others have posted videos for their students.
Students are also looking at ways to help with the shortages of medical supplies associated with the virus.
Harrison said students at the Career and Technology Center have designed and printed “face masks” on a 3D printer. The process takes eighteen hours. If approved, they can print two each day. They have also donated gloves, masks and safety glasses.
In Board action, the board approved a new Director of Learning position to assist the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. Superintendent Binnicker said the position will not be filled until the Board thinks it is necessary and funding is available. They also approved a long list of personnel including teachers and administrators.
Additional details on this meeting and personnel will be in the next issue of The Journal.