Classes resume on Aug. 31st.
Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Public School System will be using a lot of digital tools for virtual instruction for students when classes begin on August 31st. Doctor Kevin Cuppett, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation for Pre-K through 12. “There was professional learning around Schoology which is our learning management system. The use of Google Meet which is where we’ll be providing synchronous instruction this fall. And those were two platforms that are teachers needed a lot of support with,” he says. “Some teachers were experienced with it; others it was relatively new.”
When school closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students were required to complete their classes on line. At the time, the School System didn’t allow teachers to provide lessons streamed over the intenet. But Dr. Cuppett says Google Meet will let them do that, and students will still have opportunities to ask their teachers questions, or get additional help with their courses. “Even though it will be a virtual model, the school itself will have a schedule that students will know that they need to follow very much if they were in a face-to-face situation. So lots of opportunities for support,” he says.
Just like when instruction takes place in school buildings, Dr. Cuppett says students will need to get ready for the first day of school. “Some of the key things we like to talk about is making sure that each student has a work place, kind of an area that is school and is designated for that. They need to work with us on the connectively. And then they probably have to have some kind of routine,” he says.
“Schools going to be significantly more scheduled now that it was in the Continuity of Learning period because they’ll have scheduled time to check in,”: Dr. Cuppett continues. “And so if I have, say, three kids at home that are students at FCPS, I need to coordinate that a little bit about whose going to be on line with which teacher and that sort of thing.”
The “Continuity of Learning” was the on line lessons provided to Frederick County Public School students after classroom buildings were closed in March.
While most of students’ work was done on line, there were some families who did not have access to the interent, which made it difficult for them to keep up. That’s still a problem, and Dr. Cuppett says the School System is working on that. “So our commitment is to try to connect every single kid. And our schools are going to be great at helping us identify which families might need additional support be it device, access, through some kind of connectively, or presence at school so they can access our internet,” he says.
Last week, the Board of Education agreed to a virtual learning model for the first semester of the 2020-2021 academic year.
By Kevin McManus