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CJI: Distanced learning not ideal but is working


April 22, 2020

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Clouds hang over the Chester-Joplin-Inverness High School Entrance in Chester. Superintendent Tim Bronk said that while teaching would be better if the students could be back in the classrooms, CJI's distanced learning during the COVID-19 school closures is working effectively.

Chester-Joplin-Inverness Schools Superintendent Tim Bronk said the remote online delivery of education is going well since it started March 30.

"Indeed, it is not ideal, but it is reaching students, and our teachers feel they are effectively educating students," he said. 

  He said the teachers have been collaborating and sharing with their colleagues on ideas and practices to help enhance and perfect the teaching and learning experience. 

Parents are also a part of assisting their children and keeping them engaged and focused on the learning process, he added.

"Also, I believe students are adapting well, some better than others of course," Bronk said. "But in reality, they have grown up in a digital world, and it seems they are adjusting better than many adults. "

Principal Beth Kendall said the teachers have the option to use Seesaw, Nearpod, Explain Everything - which is a virtual whiteboard - and Google Classroom, Zoom or Google Meets to reach students.

"I have access to all 'classrooms' and have popped in on rich class discussions, (such as) a teacher teaching in a cow costume and individual student-teacher meetings," she said.

All the seventh through 12th grade students in the district have Chromebooks, she said, adding that the elementary students can sign out devices if needed.

She said the school has purchased WiFi for six families through its school budget and that the majority of students are interacting regularly with teachers and staff. 

Kendall said the assignments differ for different grade levels.

The teachers for elective classes are posting assignments for kindergarten through sixth-grade students weekly, "because that is how often they normally see students."

The junior high and high school teachers are posting mostly daily, although some are using project-based learning, she said.

"I have had some parents concerned about the volume of work being assigned. This is new for everyone, so we are a work in progress." Kendall said. "I believe this distancing has fostered a renewed appreciation for teachers and the job they do. I sure miss my kids here at school." 


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