Havre High working through distanced learning
April 7, 2020
Havre High School, along with the other schools in Havre Public Schools, is going full throttle with distanced learning.
“We were tasked with coming up with a remote learning plan from Superintendent (Andy) Carlson and we created a document with the help of all our teachers and staff, and creating that document then getting it approved and sent it to the Office of Public Instruction,” Principal Edward Norman said. “In doing that, our teachers gave me a list of all the things they were doing and we actually have added a few since we started doing this because teachers are finding new ways to help get the information to kids and they are using different apps, those things to try to get kids to respond.”
Gov. Steve Bullock ordered March 15 that all K-12 public schools in Montana close their buildings and switch to remote learning.
He originally set his directive through March 27, then extended it through April 10.
Bullock said Friday he expects to this week extend his directives again.
Norman said that for remote learning, the high school is doing online courses through video chat, phone calls, online textbooks and packets that have to be turned in as well.
He said Google Classroom is the main program teachers are using to connect with their students, as well as Infinite Campus Messenger, TED Talks, YouTube videos, Khan Academy and other educational links.
“Overall, we just have a lot of different ways that our teachers are doing remote learning with their kids. Some of them are doing Zoom meetings, some Google Chats, Google Meet and so those are things we’ve added as far as a personal connection piece, and one of the things we are really trying to do is make sure that is the first thing we do and continue to do is to make sure that our kids are OK,” Norman said. “... We are really encouraging kids to do as much as they can and to try to make sure that they are connecting with the teachers because that was some kind of normalcy for what they do, five days out of the week during the school year.”
The high school has given out 90 Chromebooks, he added, as far as getting kids connected.
He said students need to make sure they are connected whether it’s through a Chromebook, cell phone or any other device.
Other things going on, Norman said, include trying to make sure students are in communication with their teachers.
“And making sure they know that we care and we love them, and that we are just going to continue to worry about that, as our initial piece, of making sure that they are OK and then the education piece is obviously second to that,” he said. “As far as specifically, some teachers are just putting out work and instruction and having kids return it, whether it’s online or in packets, and we are kind of taking a broad view right now, as far as going into this whole process and looking at grading.”
Teachers are encouraged to be in communication with their students every day, he said, and are told to put a limit on assignments, which is three or fewer per week.
He said he also encouraged his teachers to set up office hours during the day when the students can reach out to them.
“We’ve made the decision to try not to do the two nine-week quarter, we’re going to have just a semester grading put into place, once we get it all figured out,” Norman said. “... It’s just something we are working through. We’re going to continue to learn more and more and we’re going to continue to make more decisions as we go here.”
Any student who doesn’t have access to the online programs, he said, should make sure their teachers are aware or they can call the school at 395-8551.