Schools working to take classwork online

Scott Taylor
staylor@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/23/20

It isn’t so easy to replicate a school day if the schools are closed for a whole series of days. “But we’ve had a few positive comments on our district Facebook page,” Oliver Grenham, chief …

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Schools working to take classwork online

Posted

It isn’t so easy to replicate a school day if the schools are closed for a whole series of days.

“But we’ve had a few positive comments on our district Facebook page,” Oliver Grenham, chief education officer for Westminster Public Schools. “We are fielding questions from parents as they come up through the schools. I was out at a school yesterday and there were a line of parents set up. They were social distancing but they were very eager to get Chromebooks for their kids.”

Westminster Public Schools began distributing Chromebooks to its 9,800 students on March 13 just as the Coronavirus outbreak was ramping up in Colorado, starting first with the students in grades three-12.

“We did that while those kids were still in school last week and we created information packets and learning packets for the younger kids,” Grenham said. “At the time, we thought this was going to be a two week window. But now that it’s been extended, we opened the schools in the last couple of days for the K-2 students as well.”

Parents were encouraged to come to their students Chromebook laptop computers , as well as printed educational packets for families that don’t have access to the internet at their homes.

“We are still collecting the numbers to see if all those kids have connectivity at home at this time,” he said. “Some already had it but for that don’t there are couple of things we can do.”

Companies like Comcast are offering free wife at spots around the community — a map of free Xfinity WiFi hot spots is available at wifi.xfinity.com — but Grenham said the district also has a handful of mobile hotspots students can use.

“We have ordered the hotspots and we are determining which families will need them,” he said. “It turns out, about 10 percent of our families do not have connectivity.”

Parents can sign up for a hotspot by contacting the district.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis officially closed the schools March 18, saying they would be shut until April 17 at the earliest. School districts across the state are grappling with ways to get their students ready for remote learning.

The Adams 12 district published a guide on its website for parents recommending learning for between three and five hours of activities for students daily during the week. Those include up to an hour of reading, an hour of physical activities and 30 minutes to an hour activities like journal writing, research projects and using online apps for math puzzles, language learning and standardized test practice. It also recommends an 30 minutes or more daily playing games, cooking with the family or doing crafts.

Both students at Adams 12 Five Star district and Westminster Public Schools students were scheduled to be on Spring Break March 23-27.

For Westminster, that’s, giving the schools, the students and their parents a week to get things set up at their homes.

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