With the opening days of this school year behind them, educators, students, and parents continue to adjust to learning at home.
By Eugenia Jones
With the first days of school behind them, District educators, parents, and students continue to forge ahead with distance learning as they cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
McCreary County School Superintendent Corey Keith reported an additional four staff cases and four student cases of COVID-19 have occurred within the school district since his last update. Keith gave assurance that none of the affected individuals will return to work/school until released by the local health department. Keith also provided the link to a Kentucky Department of Health website which tracks cases for all K-12 public schools. For those interested in tracking the number of cases, the link to the site is: https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/covid19/k-12cv19report.pdf.
Acting on the recommendations of the Governor and Commissioner of Education who have consistently encouraged employers to allow their employees to work from home when possible, Keith asked principals this week to have fifty percent of their teachers report in-person and fifty percent to work remotely.
“Not all jobs are conducive to working remotely,” Keith noted. “However, teaching is one of those roles that can sometimes be performed in this manner. Our work schedules can change on a week to week basis, but student and parent access to teachers is consistent regardless of the work location. Administrators have clear expectations for our off-site work and are able to monitor the work occurring remotely.”
Keith noted the percentage of time allotted for teachers to be on-site will possibly increase since the District has begun allowing small groups of students to come for in-person sessions. Keith remains hopeful the District will still be able to provide in-person learning for all students whose parents make that request beginning October 12.
At the time of two McCreary County School District updates posted on Facebook on September 3/4, Keith noted the District was basically only one week into distance learning. During the updates, Keith echoed the positive feedback he has received about the work of staff in implementing distance learning throughout the District. However, Keith was not surprised that all feedback is not positive.
“This (distance learning) is something brand new,” Keith remarked. “To think it would go without a hitch isn’t realistic. We appreciate feedback and want to apply it to do the best possible job for our students.”
Keith said there are multiple ways for caregivers who are having difficulty navigating distance learning to get help.
“We are dedicated to keeping the time between asking a question and receiving an answer to a minimum,” Keith said. “The best way to reach out for help is to email or call your child’s teacher. Also, if you call the school, questions can also be fielded by one of our Digital Literacy Coaches or our Community Digital Resources Coordinator. Bottom line, we are committed to making sure that all of our students are able to utilize distance learning to the fullest.”
Additionally, Superintendent Keith shared a link on the McCreary County School District webpage specifically designated as Distance Learning/Digital Resources. The link provides help for parents and students as they navigate distance learning and includes tutorials such as “How to Connect a Chromebook to WIFI,” and “How to Upload a File to Google Classroom.” The link will continue to be updated, and users are encouraged to check back periodically. The link is https://www.mccreary.k12.ky.us/Content2/532.
Keith shared additional aspects of the District’s distance learning program that will be implemented soon. New aspects include the scheduling of consistent times when teachers will be available for live video conferencing on either Google or Zoom. This feature will make teachers available at set times for interaction with students or parents.
Teachers will also begin teaching live lessons a couple of times per week.
“This way, students can hook up and be part of the interaction at consistent times,” Keith noted.
In addition to distance learning, Keith announced that some in-person, small group instruction began in the school district earlier this week. He explained in-person groups are limited to fourteen students and one teacher with the total number of students in a building at a given time not exceeding 15% of the school’s total enrollment. Keith said school staff will continue to communicate with parents and students about the formation of in-person groups.
Despite learning at home, students can still partake of school meals. Keith is pleased the District’s feeding program will be allowed to continue operating under summer rules. By operating under summer rules, the District can feed anyone ages 18 and under, seven days per week.
“We’re excited to be able to offer meals seven days per week,” Keith said.
Keith expressed his appreciation to parents and the public for their patience, grace, and feedback as the District travels through the unchartered waters of distance learning.
“We share a common interest in wanting the very best for our children,” Keith stated.
children having problems with home school and what are they?
See responses from our facebook questions on page 4A.
Cheryl Gaertner – So far so good with my girls.
Michelle Shepherd – Cheryl Gaertner , I am proud of you. I am happy for your girls that it is going well for them.
Cheryl Ramey Strunk – My other thing is yes I understand the safety of are kids and the teachers. But what really gets me is they can’t go to school and learn. But they can go play sports.
Ashley Renne Wilson – Cheryl Ramey yes yes yes I been say this the hole time
Cheryl Ramey Strunk – Ashley Renne Wilson it make me so mad.
Ashley Renne Wilson – Cheryl Ramey yes.
Angel Kidd – We are making the absolute best out of the situation! So far we have encountered no problems. Any time I’ve ever had a question her teacher has answered it and helped me in a timely manner.
Gen Whittington – We are having trouble getting homework to submit to the site, and hope the teacher sees that we have completed it. I’m having log in issues on some of the outside apps for the math academies. My child has an IEP and he needs a tailored education plan,so much of the info he is learning is over his head. He is getting upset, I try to make sure he doesn’t, but to what end. I don’t want him to feel like a failure. He will not be able to retain the info so why should I force him to do this. There has to be a better way, not all kids fit into the cookie cutter mold.
Jackie Gregory – I want nothing more than for things to go back to normal for my Senior. However, I’m beginning to really appreciate it with my grade schooler. She requires more than most students and struggles with focusing. I can see when she’s mentally checking out to bring her back into focus so that she learns the material and she’s catching on more quickly with having the constant one on one interaction than she did in a classroom full of students.
Wilda Vanover – My son is a visual learner. He is autistic and needs a classroom structure. Things are not on routine although I try to make them as routine as possible but with toddlers in the home it’s hard. He can’t stay motivated to do his work. It is complete chaos at our house
Lianne Laxton – The children need classroom structure. They needs more hands on. Technology is unreliable. It’s hard to ask questions and get a response in a timely manner. It’s hard to concentrate on school work with other small children and babies in the home. It’s help to help two children at once, especially grade levels apart. It takes all many hours that a lot of parents done have
Elizabeth Tapley – Very hard. My mom has 4 kids in school this year, all being different grade levels and by the time everyone gets off work and home to actually do the work, everyone is tired and crams to help her get their work done. Neither one of my parents are tech savvy so it is very hard to actually know they are getting it turned in and I usually have to go behind them and end up doing it.
Suzie Strunk Thompson – Could we rephrase this question in a less negative manner?? Maybe “What experience is your child having with Virtual Learning? Either positive or negative.”
There are many children having a positive experience, so in a World filled with plenty of negativity, let’s shine a light on the positive too!
Isaiah Terry – Suzie Strunk Thompson touché. First thing I said when I read that headline.
Michele West – Cheryl Ramey it is so difficult I’ve had to message Raiden King teacher everyday and had to message his music teacher also cause I couldn’t find a way to submit his music work. I’m ready to pull my hair out and say the HELL with it
It’s a shame someone goes to the 11th grade and can’t figure out a 2nd grade students work to help them
Kasey Higginbotham – Of course we are having trouble! Most of our kids (who are in elementary) need the classroom structure because they don’t think they have to listen to their parents because they don’t view us as teachers! My 1st grader isn’t having too much trouble, my 2nd grader needs the classroom structure because she will not concentrate and doesn’t want to do her work, and my 3rd grader is having a hard time learning some of her things because she doesn’t want to watch the videos.
Veine Boggs – My son is having issues with most work due to his iep and him being a visual learner. I’m working on trying to find a teacher to hire to help him with school.
Cristy Hill – So far my children, 5th & 9th grade are doing very well. Plenty of videos to help, teachers have reached out with personal numbers incase we need them, its been good 🙂
Clarissa Tucker – The problem at our house is that there is no “homeschooling” going on. With two full time working parents and children who have to go to daycare during the day, it has just been us cramming the lessons and assignments in a couple of hours each night before bed. Exhausting for everyone.
Jessica Perry – Clarissa Tucker that’s our problem too. After working all day and coming home to four kids in four different grades it’s hard to try to teach anything. It takes all night just to cram in everyone’s assignments.
Tiffanie Swift Martinez – Sports is atleast keeping these kids athletically fit and out of trouble. I’m a mom and aunt of soccer players as well as a wrestler for the high school. People don’t understand that these athletes are going through all different kinds of training and have a whole different set of rules just so they can play. These athletes have to wear masks during practice and it’s hot out….. do they like it???? No! They don’t but to me by these kids that are out there giving it their all and their everything all while wearing a mask just so they can play the sport/s they enjoy…..I say let them play! My daughter and niece may struggle with the new norm of school as well as the new way they have to play sports but they are adjusting and shouldn’t have anything taken away again this year. The coaches are also having to adjust to the new norm just so they can get all their players ready. It’s not been easy for ANYONE, but for something these athletes put their hearts into to adjust to it just so they can play is amazing! Im very proud of all the coaches and players for dealing and coping with the new norm 2020!
Nicky Yancey – I know the teachers are doing the best they can, we are all learning as we go, but it’s way to complicated. Too many places to navigate to find your child’s work, and assignments.
Janie Smith-Perry – So far so good both gets on read what needs be done does it ones 5th others 10th.
Lynda Mills – Home school or distance learning? There is a big difference.
Suzie Strunk Thompson – Lynda Mills Yes!! That is the absolute truth!
Shelley R Stewart – Well I went to 3 days a week to teach my kid, putting us in a pinch but believe God will see us through.
Lisa Taylor – We are having TROUBLE keeps saying no classroom found.
Jennifer Gary Anderson – We had same issue was a typo where was a 1 it was l we had it in two different classes and schools lol you might have to contact the home room teacher hope this helps!
Lisa Taylor – Jennifer Gary Anderson ok thank you so much.
Cheryl Ramey Strunk – Yes, it’s very hard on working parents. When you work and your kids are needing help because they don’t understand it, heck I’m the parent and I don’t understand some of it. Plus trying to figure out the chrome book and how to submit the work when’s it done is a pain.
Jane Bryant – My kids are not learning, they need a teacher to explain the subject to them.
Beth M Boyle – Nothing but problems. I work 40+ hrs a week. My husband works out of town so not much help there. I feel like my son isnt getting the learning or social skills needed for his age group. My older kids struggle a little with all the assignments but my 2nd grader has special circumstances that require a teacher with certain degrees. I don’t have the time nor knowledge on the best ways to teach him. Our kids are going to have a hard time recovering from this.
Jessica Merritt – I’m struggling so bad!! I’m not learning a thing. Half of the links aren’t working and have if the work isn’t showing up. I just wish we’d go back to school in person
Shay Lovett – Jessica Merritt fr and plus all the login to clever crap it doesn’t even work
Jessica Merritt – Shay Lovett yes tell me about it I even. Called the school about it and they said “uh we don’t know but someone who does will call you back” no one has and they was 3 days ago.
Shay Lovett – Jessica Merritt i’m not doing it
Jessica Merritt – Shay Lovett I’ve literally been bringing my computer with me to work
Shay Lovett- Jessica Merritt SAME.
Amber Hogeland – We’re loving it. It is stressful at times but the way I see it is: if you have no other options, make the best of it. No teacher is going to be too awful upset if you’re too busy throughout the week and the work is a little behind. My second graders teacher has been AMAZING at helping us.
Ashley Renne Wilson – my 2nd grader needs the classroom structure because she will not concentrate and doesn’t want to do her work…… it’s very hard on working parents. When you work and your kids are needing help because they don’t understand it, heck I’m the parent and I don’t understand some of it.
Michelle Shepherd – I’m a teacher. I’m a parent. I am also completing another degree with night classes. I understand busy schedules. Virtual class has been difficult but most things are when they are new. Today marks 1 week. 1 week. Guess what, each day is getting better as I learn more and more. I try to look at the positive. As a Christian, I realize the importance of grace. Be graceful as we learn a new way. Our children are watching. My kindergartener wants to go to school, I try to make virtual learning fun for her. She will have an awesome year. I have this determination for my students too. It’s not just me, I work with awesome people, who are caring and dedicated. Parents, we are here, if you need help, please ask. We are learning too but we can learn together. Prayers are appreciated.
Carrie Yancey – My 9th grader has an IEP and he is having to do work he doesn’t understand. half the time his questions are about pictures that aren’t included with the work… My 5th grader isnt having any problems.
Brandy Teeters – Keeping up with my college work, my sons work, his therapy twice a week, plus housework and travels to his hospital appointments yes I’m having trouble
Britney Wilson – I’m behind on EVERYTHING. With moving and taking care of Scarlett while doing my work I can’t catch up on anything and we are expected to finish fast when we don’t know how to do it.
Alex Hill – I’m not learning anything. I thought with online school we would do zoom meetings with our teachers, that way if we have questions they could answer them. My teachers never check their email and if they do they don’t respond.
Briana Sumner – It’s very hard when they have working parents, two different grade levels in one home, chrome Books messing up, not getting timely replies since parents are working and teachers are not available during the times parents are. On top of all the class work having to do a special class is crazy. (My opinion)
Shay Lovett – I don’t learn anything, i try my best but i cant. i think we should just go back to school or wait and go to school. because no one’s learning anything and it just causes stress for the students and parents.
Chelsey Coffey – It’s a struggle! Some of my teachers go over the work in videos and explain it to you as they would if you was in class but I have like 2 that don’t and I’m struggling to understand anything! I’m honestly so ready to be back in school so we can actually communicate with the teacher face to face, but I know everyone is struggling during this time and the teachers are doing the very best they can do to help us learn through our chrome books.
Sandra Maxwell – We are all encountering a new way of learning. It is difficult for working parents who are working 60+ hours a week, trying to help assist 4 kids with chromebooks and a system that is not set up for success by the younger students. It may be difficult, it may be stressful but we will make it to the end with lots of new learning experiences and setting our children up for the future as odds as they stand, the world is going to become more dependent on this technology.
With that being said, there is some confusing or misleading information out amongst parents. Some schools have told parents all assignments for the week will be due on friday that as long as they are in by midnight on Friday it will all be counted. The middle school though has conflicting stories. Some say turn all in on friday, other demand that it is turned in on a specific day.
All parents need the SAME INFORMATION ACCROSS THE BOARD. (Notice ALL CAPS, that is am emphasis on the words, Short strings of words in capital letters appear bolder and “louder” than mixed case, and this is sometimes referred to as “screaming” or “shouting”..)
One last thing. This does not pertain to all teachers but I would suggest a refreshers course for the teachers who are SUPPOSEDLY teaching our children on technology and internet etiquette. The next message my child gets with 5 exclamation points(direct speech that represents something shouted or spoken very loudly) at the end with a smurky message about being counted absent (caused by the misinformation through the county), you may find me standing in that Main Board office requesting a meeting to inform that teacher in the presence of the superintendent. These are still OUR children and there should be in NO WAY any hostility put out towards them. They are all in a hard spot as well as the teachers and staff. We are all in this together, and I don’t care to meet you to have a face to face CONVERSATION about how MY children will or will not be spoken to disrespectfully. You get the treatment you earn from these kids.