Lakota's Preparations for Remote Learning

Lakota's Preparations for Remote Learning
Posted on 03/17/2020
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Article written by Lakota Superintendent Matthew for the Sunday, March 22 issue of the Pulse Journal.

We are in the midst of uncharted territory as a nation, as a state and as a community. As we come to the end of our scheduled spring break, we will not see our students in our classrooms and hallways tomorrow. Instead, we are preparing to launch remote learning throughout Lakota Local Schools.
 

What will that look like? On March 13, we got a sneak preview. Prior to the state-mandated  shutdown of schools, Lakota had planned to run a remote learning exercise. Our staff and students practice safety exercises for fires, tornadoes and lockdowns. Given the quickly spreading novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to be better prepared should the unthinkable happen. And it did.

Governor DeWine has ordered that all schools in Ohio be closed. While the initial order was through April 3, this may be extended. Our teachers spent March 13 building out remote learning opportunities for our students so that the continuum of education would be disrupted as little as possible. Will learning look the same? Absolutely not. Can it continue? Absolutely.

We are fortunate that our students in grades 7-12 are accustomed to online learning already. We are a one-to-one district for secondary grades, which means that all of our students have school-owned Chromebooks. Our teachers will continue to post assignments for students to complete and submit electronically. 

For our younger students, we know that learning looks differently for grades K-2 and 3-6 than it does for our junior and high school students. Many teachers use online platforms to post learning opportunities and communicate with families. We know that this will continue. We are also looking at ways to supplement this with other learning opportunities, including enrichment activities. 

While remote learning will provide an opportunity for us to continue educating our students, equity is a concern for us. We have surveyed our teachers and parents to best understand the needs of our families. Our district leaders have been working tirelessly to overcome these obstacles. 

One of our priorities when facing a mandated shutdown is how to continue providing meals for our families in need. With 20 percent of our student population receiving free or reduced lunch, we know that this need is real. I applaud Lakota’s Child Nutrition department for quickly bringing a plan together to implement a model similar to our Summer Lunch program in order to distribute breakfast and lunch for our kids.

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support by our community members. If you would like to help our families in need, I encourage you to contact our community partners, including Reach Out Lakota, Faith United Methodist Church and Shared Harvest.

I also invite you to visit www.lakotaonline.com for information regarding Lakota’s response to COVID-19, including the schedule for our Child Nutrition bus.


Matthew Miller is the superintendent of Lakota Local Schools. Follow him on Twitter (@LakotaSuper), Facebook (Matt Miller – Lakota Local Schools Superintendent) and Instagram (lakotasuper).