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ConVal investigates claims that online classes are coming up short

  • ConVal school bus in snow Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/15/2021 12:33:36 PM

ConVal administrators are looking into some elementary school parents’ recent claims that their students aren’t receiving enough live, teacher-led instruction during the district’s remote learning period.

Administrators were first alerted to the potential issue via a survey issued to elementary school parents right before the holiday break during the district-wide remote learning period, which began after Thanksgiving, Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said.

The survey, which had a 51 percent return rate, indicated that although 82.7 percent of parent responders thought there was “just enough” live teacher-led instruction, 37 responders said they thought their child was getting not enough live instruction, Assistant Superintendent Ann Forrest said at the School Board’s Jan. 5 meeting. As an elementary school parent himself, School Board member Rob Short said that he was concerned that classes weren’t going as long as they were scheduled, recounting instances in which his kids said they were let out of class after 15 minutes, despite the live classes being scheduled for longer. “I think we ...need to make sure that what we’re saying we’re going to do, is done,” he said, and that he just wanted the administration to look into what was happening. Forrest said the survey results prompted the administration to confirm that teachers were following the district’s guidelines for instructional time.

“There are people...that have the perception that that’s happening for their child,” Rizzo Saunders said, and that’s why administrators are looking into the claim that some classes weren’t lasting as long as they were supposed to, despite no previous observations during regular virtual drop-ins that classes were coming up short. Administrators had made no conclusion to the veracity of the claims as of Thursday, Rizzo Saunders said. 

Survey results also indicated that the majority of parents thought the amount of independent study work was “just enough”  for their child, Forrest told the School Board, and that they were by and large satisfied with the amount of communication they were receiving from their children’s teachers.

Many responders reported their children feeling isolated from peers, missing in person interactions, and that they were struggling to balance their own work with supporting their children. Many also wrote about internet connectivity issues, the amount of time between different teacher led sessions, and student workload, motivation, and engagement. 

Results indicated that parents saw their children’s teachers as supportive and available. Parents praised small-group, teacher-led instruction, and a consistent schedule, and said that they as parents were developing a stronger understanding of exactly what their children were struggling with.

More than half of responders said they didn’t need any additional help from the School District at the time, Forrest said. Thirteen percent of responders, or 49 people, said they wanted more assistance with their child’s emotional support, and 1.9 percent, or seven people, said they needed nutritional or food service assistance. The School District was reaching out to them, Forrest said.

 




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