John Glenn Schools start virtually for now
WALKERTON, Ind. - This year, it’s going to look different. Instead of driving or riding the bus to school, well schools coming to you.
Last week we showed you how Knox schools are reopening to in-person learning but that’s not the case for every school district. Now, we’re taking a look at John Glenn School Corporation out of Walkerton to see how they are managing a phased-in approach starting with only online learning.
“It was an adjustment as much for myself as probably for the students," Mike Clark, a Highschool health teacher said.
“It's super hard for us working parents because we have to hope that work understands," Brianna Applegate, one parent said.
“It was a hard transition at first, but now we're starting to get smoothly into it," Taylor Kalucki, a 3rd-grade teacher at Walkerton Elementary said.
School officially started for many Walkerton students Tuesday, but it's all online.
“We'll start a nine, a 9 am kind of attendance check. And then we have three Virtual meets throughout the day to kind of do our lessons and to call the kids between the lessons that they maybe did to see if they had internet issues or if there's something disconnect at home or something. So there's going to be a lot of input or a lot of virtual calling and a lot of things going on," Kalucki said.
The school district has a phased-in plan, referred to by the colors green, yellow and red. Green would be 100% back on campus, yellow is a hybrid plan where 50% of the kids would be on campus, part of the week, and then when you're not on campus, you'd be attending virtually. Then the red plan 100% virtual.
“It was really our goal to start green, and then move to yellow or move to red if we needed to," Christopher Winchell, Superintendent John Glenn School Corporation said.
“It gives everybody more sense of safety right at the beginning. And hopefully, with us easing into it, they'll be able to pinpoint those hiccups and kind of adapt in the long run for it," Kalucki said. “It's definitely different. And people are chomping at the bit one way or the other way to push off or get to get back. So that's a big challenge”
“We have three in John Glenn's system. Right now. I have a senior, a sixth-grader, and one who's going into four-year-old preschool I hope," Applegate said. “When we ended last year, a couple of months ago, my sixth-grader, my fifth-grader at the time, she was okay with the whole learning thing. She did pretty well. But my high schooler was struggling because it's much harder in high school to learn online, and they weren't really teaching through video or anything like that. So it was really hard for her to understand what they were teaching. Um, but I'm hoping because they're doing it through video this time and they're actually teaching the classes that things will be easier for them.”
“The downside perhaps is kids that participate in E-learning, work to their own schedule. What we're going to try to do now is kids need to be in class at the normal time every day in a Google meet format. And that's going to be a difficult adjustment for some of the kids, for sure," Clark said.
“I am very, very thankful that I have my babysitter. Because if not, then I may have had to quit my job," Applegate said. “She has, you know, different areas in her house kind of set up, set aside set up cleared out I think for where the kids will be sitting, whether on the floor or at the table or wherever with their computers. So she has access to all of our kid's online stuff as well. So that she can keep track of it all. While she's doing this. Well, I'm very thankful.”
“Nothing compares to having daily interaction with students. But, you know, we're in a situation, you know, we're in uncharted territory, really, and we have to try to make the best of it, knowing that it's not gonna last forever," Clark said.
One thing is certain, school districts are trying their hardest to make sure those who are doing their learning online get the same education they would have last year learning in-person. And when students are allowed back inside classrooms, there is no doubt masks and social distancing requirements will be there too.