Family engagement with teachers part of remote learning

Meghan Flynn
With the COVID-19 pandemic, USD 457 is providing a remote learning option for students to take classes online.

An update on remote learning within Garden City USD 457 was given at the Board of Education’s regular meeting Monday.

Rebecca Burnfin, sixth-grade remote learning teacher, said that for remote learning the goal is to have tasks both on and off their devices.

“We don’t want them to be on the iPad all day long,” she said.

For example, one of her social studies lessons is to get to know the students.

First they would watch a video that describes the lesson and then an assignment is given where they have to create something for it — for instance, in this lesson, telling about where they live and how they fit within their community, Burnfin said.

“They can create something, whether it be a poster or postcard, that represents all these things they're telling me about themselves,” she said. “It could be pictures, they could use magazines, they could take family pictures and kind of make a collage, things like that, but there's a lot of choice in it.”

There would be choice in what they want to create and how they do it based on what they have at home, Burnfin said.

In addition to the learning side, Burnfin said, they want to get students engaged with each other. They will do this via platforms to help students collaborate and then comment on each other’s work.

Burnfin said teachers also want to have family engagement with teachers.

One way they will do this is a virtual open house, Burnfin said.

“This will allow them to meet the teachers and ask questions and have all of those conversations before school that you would when we typically have our buildings open and parents get to come to our classrooms and meet our faces,” she said. “Instead they get to see our face digitally and we have breakout rooms and comment boxes they can use as well as Google forms, utilizing that in a productive way to allow parents to ask questions that I could email them later or maybe ask questions they want to me address with their kid on the first day of school.“

Additionally the teachers want to host Zoom-ins, Burnfin said. It’s like a parent night where the teacher is available for a certain time so parents and guardians can contact the teacher to ask questions, give comments, express concerns, ask for help, etc.

In USD 457, there are 805 remote learning students from pre-K through 12th grade.

There are also 352 students involved in blended schooling from fifth grade to 12th grade.