Remote Learning Without Internet Access: Workarounds From Rural Communities
Recently, in response to COVID-19, much needed additional state and federal funding has been allocated to North Carolina's public schools. With the use of these funds, combined with state and local partnerships, more efforts are being made to connect students and teachers to broadband internet through allocating $1 million for wifi buses, $11 million for community and home mobile internet access, and $30 million for devices to help address the 197,000 student households still lacking internet access. Over the next two episodes, we will hear from students, parents, teachers, and administrators from across the state in a discussion about how students are learning remotely with no or limited home access to the internet.
well education matters. Presented by the public school form of North Carolina, I'm your host, Tom Williams. Recently in response to Kobe, 19 much needed additional state and federal funding has been allocated in North Carolina's public schools with the use of these funds combined with state and local partnerships. More efforts are being made to connect students and teachers to broadband through allocating $1 million for WiFi buses, 11 million for community and home mobile Internet access in 30 million for devices to help address the 197,000 student households Still lacking Internet access. Over the next two shows, we will hear from students, parents, teachers and administrators from across the state in a discussion about how students are learning remotely with no or limited home access to the Internet. Like to welcome to the show. Miss Hanna worked from Claremont Elementary School in Cotabato County. We're delighted to have you here, and thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. I'm excited to be here today. We'd love to hear from you how you and others at Claremont Elementary have transitioned to remote learning. Yeah, absolutely. So we were blessed that we were kind of in a blended learning experience. Before, we had used a lot of really great tools in our classroom, such as flip grand pear deck that allowed us to give our students feedback virtually so. Feedback has been huge, just finding ways to give our kids be back in to interact with them while they're not in our classrooms now. So for those of them that have access, we've been using a lot of those virtual tools. And for those of them that don't most of our students, the reality is they have some sort of a device in their home. Um, Catawba County has worked to check out Chromebooks, so some of the students have those. But other ones at least have a cell phone or something like that. So Google Meeting has a great feature. My great level has been hosting Google meetings every day with our students, and they can call in on their chromebooks if they have those. Some of them have desktops tablets, or they can even calling on a film, using nothing more, then their data or any sort of connection. They have just through cellular connection so they can call in and still hear us be able to talk to us, get real time feedback and get their social interaction with their peers. So we've tried to build stuff in where we have time to talk, to communicate and to get actual lessons. So we've been able to do a lot of great review and move forward in our standards. Through those Google lessons, we've also been able to incorporate QR codes, which are really great cause Students can just scan them again if they have a cellular phone that can use their camera just to scan it for pre recorded lessons that are aligned to our standards and that help us move forward in our curriculum as well as have some sort of interaction with our kids more than we might have another situation. So we've been really blessed to use a lot of different tools for that and to be ableto meet students where they are with what they have. Thank you for being here. Next, we're joined by Miss Daniel Eller. Miss Ellers, a kindergarten teacher, a Claremont Elementary school in Catawba County. Tell us Miss Eller as a kindergarten teacher, how are using new strategies for meeting the unique needs of all of your kindergarten students. Well, the first thing that I thought was most important was that I could keep it very simple for my family's and my students. I didn't want to throw anything at them that was gonna be new, especially being in kindergarten. So we all use classical Joe. And so what I was able to do Waas pret prepared teach and screen testify every single lesson literacy, riding, math, all of it, even social studies and science. And I created it in a lesson plan and put it and posted it to my class story. So as long as they have, they picked up their packets. They had their paper pencil packets because we were given a directive. Just have those available as long as they had that in front of them and I was giving them the visual so they could see what they where we were that they were able to push that button and and it was like we were in school because they were seeing the very same things, whether it was online curriculums or our anchor charts. We had done anything that I could use to give them that visual about what we have been doing. Thank you for joining us. And next we're joined by Miss Suzanne Cattle Wallet. Er, Miss Cattle Waller. We understand that some of your families lack access to broadband devices. Talk to us a little bit about how you and your students who cannot connect to the Internet have been learning with other methods remotely. Because not of all our Children have access to the Internet or to the devices we sent home paper packets. We used a lot of different things that the Children had already been using in class, so that it wasn't something completely new for them, and the parents didn't have to learn how to teach. Using new methods, we sent home some math papers that the Children had been using the class. We did the same thing with reading differentiated comprehension passages so that the students could still continue reading and answering questions. We sent home R Letter land, which is our phonics program, so that they could keep working on word work and keep working on their writing. And so it was more of a continuation of things that we would do in class because first grade. It's so essential that Children actually use paper and pencil to write in order to increase their literacy skills that we really wanted to keep that type of thing in place because not all parents had digital, manipulative or access. We did send home things like oclock if we're learning about time in math, and we sent home pattern blocks that they could cut out so that if they're learning about shapes, it was something they could physically use so that not only Children would have access to, But the parents were able to use the same type of things that we would use in school on. We offered digital options, but a lot of our parents with the work schedule just weren't able to, you know, go on at certain times. So we wanted to make it easy for the parents and easy for the students so that everyone had the same access and the same types of education just different initiated for different types of learners. Next, we have have James Fried Principle of Claremont Elementary School in Cotabato County, who's really have managed the shift to equitable remote learning for all of its students, so Welcome, Dr Frye. We're glad to have you here. Thank you. It's great to be here. So tell us what role has school and district leadership played in Khatab in the transition to MMA remote learning? I think, um, to be able to tackle this, um, as well a czar teachers have I think our district has planned immensely prior to this experience in investing in professional development on personalized learning. Our school district has been really intentional about creating co ports of schools where teachers have worked with education elements on DSA Mother individuals who have provided professional development on personalized learning. So using technology tools effectively to clone the teacher right to create screen casting videos, but then using those technology tools and programmes effectively to be responsive to student needs in the classroom. So having that familiarity with all of those platforms was really something that, uh, the impetus for that change had already been a conversation that we were having as a school district. But the transition right, every single teacher in my building did not have that same advantage of participating in those co ports. But they all adapted on really lean in on one another. So I can't say enough great things about school district leadership and their role in providing that opportunity. That's great. You mentioned it a little bit earlier in your comment. Maybe some specific things that you've done to meet the needs of all students when you focus on the broader equity issues, yes. So there are a lot of things that we've tried to dio at the since the very beginning to try to get out in front of Kobe. 19. You know, initially we were first starting this journey, and we were building remote learning atop a county on Lee went a week between the announcement of school closure and the onset of remote learning on, and a lot of that was due to intentional planning and being really communicative with our families and parents early. So we started off by preparing paper packets for our families before we really know what the knew what this was going to look like. That had personalized, individualized activities in it because we knew we had to give everyone equitable access, whatever that might have looked like. Um, we also worked diligently to prepare remote activities that could be completed, completed from a blended learning approach. So we had, as a school, had a lot of professional development. We've been a book study on blended learning, and we have been very fortunate to engage in some professional development on creating learning progressions for students. So we know where they're where they're at on a continuum of learning. So when we all came together remotely, the sense of community has just been so strong, and I think a lot of that has to do with we. We went out into the community. We asked every single family. Do you have Internet access? What kind of devices do you have? We collected that information. If they didn't have a device, we gave them one. We checked our devices out in the schools. We make sure that all of our materials are platforms. Anything that we did could be accessible from a phone or whatever they had. Um, we also you know, for families that none of those were options. We connected them with local providers, Internet service providers who have providing Internet access for free for the period of cove in 19. We've done that with families. We have individuals whose phones couldn't connect to a videoconferencing system. They had the paper packets in front of them, and they were doing the work in the packets. The same things that the teacher would be doing during a secret is class meeting on Zoom on. It would be completing that with the class, listening to the teacher on a phone conference. So they're in the same class meeting. They're just not looking at it on the screen. They're looking at it on a packet, right? Right. We've got about a minute left. Maybe a couple of quick thoughts on reentry plans and things that the state plans and policies promote learning could be done to would help make the transition between the end of the year and reentry next year. I think having some consideration for creating standard operating procedures and thinking about when we're going online with this new group of students who is not experienced in this grade level, what does that need to look like? Think having some consideration for having those If we're not able to come back in the fall first thing, how do you create those procedures so that everybody has an understanding of how toe do online learning, but then also looking at different instructional models and approaches. So thinking about an enriched virtual model, which is one of the models of blended learning, it's already out there. There's a ton of research. Their case use cases of how it works, where we've got online instruction. But then we require some form of face to face instruction. The structure of that and the schedule that would be, you know, could be up to the L. E A. Or could be up to this school to decide the frequency could be, you know, splitting days where you have different bus routes that come in different times. Different groups of students that come in different weeks. You know, all the kinds of conversations that were sort of had. Thank you so much for taking time to be with us today and the work that you and your team at Claremont Elementary and really the broader team in Catawba County schools are doing. And we're gonna look forward to looping back with you as we go into the summer and into the opening of the new year. Okay. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you much. Have a great day and stay safe, please. More education matters will continue after this short break. Education matters has brought to you each week in part by town bank serving, others enriching lives. Joining us now is Alison Ethridge, principal at Madame Mesquite Elementary School in Hyde County, and Miss Ethridge. You're coming to us with the unique hat. You're a school principal, but you're also apparent with two Children at home. Tell us how remote learning is working for you from your parent perspective. From the parent perspective, it's been a little bit challenging because I can't get high speed Internet in my house. So we are all working from my phone's hot spot. So if my kids are working on an assignment or they're in a zoom meeting with their teacher and somebody calls from the school toe, access me to get some information. They get kicked out of their zoom meaning or kicked off their assignment, or they have to wait until I'm done talking on the phone before they can do their work. So that's been kind of tricky, um, with the Internet access also at the end of the billing cycle, even though I have unlimited access I can't connect to a lot of my, um, devices. So I have to wait until my husband gets home. So use his phones, access, um, or goes somewhere that we know has high speed internet. So that's final Has been a little tricky. Yes, well, if you will, um, we've made this shift to remote learning. From your perspective. How are your students and parents and educators managing the remote learning and successful strategies or challenges that you faced? I'm actually really impressed with our teachers and our community here because everybody has just jumped in and tried and some things have failed. But then we try something new, which was pretty awesome. Toe watch. People have been really, um they've been really receiving it. Well, now we do have a number of people without Internet access, so that's been challenging. We've been doing paper copies and different things for them. We've done a lot over the phone, a lot of our text. Um, so it's been challenging. It's been really hard since spring break, especially with the release of the grading information. The motivation had we've kind of lost a little motivation with a lot of our students But the teachers have been fantastic learning what to do and trying to connect with the parents and connect with the student. And, um And and I think delivering the food has put a good spin on for the school that's been well received in the community. So the community is still trying to work with the school as well. We have about 30 seconds left. If you were to give parent one parents one tip of what would it be? Well, I think the best thing you can dio is really send some time at the front part of your whatever your whenever you're gonna do something sin time and train on how to, like, have some specific things like cross off the list or whatever you're gonna dio. And that really helps kids get some kind of routine, especially younger kids. Right. Well, thank you for joining us and joining us now are Marisol and terrorist. See to compose and Mr Campos, their dad. Thank you all for being here. You're good. We know that your students in Hyde County and Marisol, you're a senior this year and terrace CDA your finishing up middle school. Uh, what's it been like doing remote learning in your final years of middle school and now high school. What's it been like? Well, he's kind of hard because it's not like the same thing as being at school. So yeah, it's kind of complicated. Uh, tell me a little bit, cause with remote learning, being able to access the Internet to get your assignments and upload assignments is really important. How is that working for you and what's thier ability to use the Internet? Well, And where we live in the area, we don't have, like, much single. And we don't have Internet at our house. So what I have to do to connect to my computer, to do my work after, like, use my phone to like they don't have to use it to pass it to my computer to do my work. And what kind of things are you accessing when you go through your phone? Because I guess you're using your phone is a hot spot. Yes. What? What are you accessing from the school toe that you need to do? I use school classroom. I see your email here. So you get your emails from your teachers. Yes, All right. Well, Marisol Yura, Senior. Finishing up. Getting ready. What's your plan for next year? Hopefully Oh, College and go for nurse. Very good. And how is remote learning work for you as a senior at the early college? What kind of challenges of you face and how has it been helpful to you? Well, challenges Will is kind of like my sister said it kind of difficult because not the same thing. Obviously. You have toe. Like, do you were actually, like, really late. Try hard to like, um, return every, like, work, and, well, the good thing about it is that IHS more hopeful because I feel like you basically how more adjectives like doing your work and stuff like that. So, yeah, has been the challenge, but regular used to it. Thanks for joining us. Next. We have missed tequila midget and her two Children that, um, Nigel, 1/4 grader at Madame Mesquite Elementary and Nyla, who's currently 1/6 grader at the early college high school. So tell us a little bit about how you've been managing remote learning in your household, Miss Midget. What? We've been managing pretty good. The kids have their daily schedules on their daily times and assignments are set up through their teachers. And, um, it works pretty well. Each kid has there obs and their their ends. Some courses. They have to do a video chat with the teacher to do more. Um, explaining. But I think virtual learning is going pretty well, although they would like to be back in school. Sure, but set up is a very great set up. Tell us a little bit about your Internet access there at home and devices and how that's working. Well, um, I have ah que pad tablet with unlimited Internet data. But the Children, my sixth grader, was, um, given an Internet rounder. Ah, hot spot, which, with that hot spot, she could hook up to devices. And each child can work, Um, from six am to 11 PM at night, through unlimited data. And both of those could be on there. Yes, that's great. And other. So, really, you're basically don't have broadband Internet access. Your having to do it through a hot spot. Correct. Very good. Um, how is your daily schedule working? And how are you managing that with the two Children? Um, usually we, Ah, start remote learning around 10 30 11 ish daily, and we usually run until about 2 30 days, getting everything done, and, you know it works pretty well. I understand Nyla has the router, and she's at the early college and her school's getting ready to come to a close. And then Nigel's on the traditional calendar. Tell us about the challenge that presents. Well, currently, Right now, it's, um it's gonna be a little challenging with finding out, you know, if we're gonna be able to keep this router through the end of elementary so that he can continue his work studies. If not, then we would have to make other preparations, such as I'm driving about 15 minutes up to the school to use the parking lot. WiFi or finding other means with the public library Currently closed. Right? Right. Well, Miss Midget, it's been fabulous having you on. And I appreciate you sharing your insights and how you're helping manage both Nigel continuing as he gets ready to go up to fifth grade. And as Miley gets ready to move into seventh grade. So thank you so much for being with us. Yes, sir. Thank you take good care? Yes. Are you be safe? Yep, bye bye. And after the break, this week's final word Educators have long recognized and respected the pivotal role parents play in their child's overall development, as well as their academic and social success both in and out of school. While research shows that quality teachers are the single most significant school based factor and student success, parents are the child's first and most important teacher in setting the foundation for student success in school and beyond. Parent engagement in your child's educational journey is essential in helping their child at an early age recognized the importance of the unique student teacher and parent relationship, focusing on the child's positive development and success. Parents and teachers alike will tell us that this relationship looks very different for each child, depending on the individual needs and age of the child. Without a doubt, over the past 10 weeks, our state and national need to move to remote learning has caused a major disruption to the norms of this longstanding parent teacher relationship. Unlike any time in our history, schoolwork has now made its way into the home in the very fabric of the child's and parent's regular day. The impact of remote learning on our parents is as unique and diversified as the 1.5 million public school students who enter our classrooms every day. It's fair to say that across our state, no matter what the family circumstances, maybe our parents and our teachers have had to make major changes. This is necessary to deepen the parent teacher relationship, asserting each student learns to the greatest extent possible without the benefit of daily face to face instruction and personal interaction. Recently we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week, and rightfully so. We elevated the amazing efforts of our teachers in reaching out to and supporting every one of their students and parents. Let's celebrate our parents for all they have done to forge new and stronger relationship with their child's teacher in school to focus on an advocate for their child's needs. Thank you parents. We appreciate you keep up the great work as you prepare for the summer and reentry plans for a new school year. That's it for this week's show. Stay safe and thanks for watching. We'll see you next week