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'This Is Hard Work': Poudre School District Now Teaching Classes Online

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Poudre School District has moved to online classes while schools statewide are closed until April 17.

Gov. Jared Polis closed all preschool through grade 12 schools until April 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As school districts return from spring break, students and teachers are moving to an online learning format.

KUNC's Stephanie Daniel recently spoke to Madeline Noblett, executive director of communications at Poudre School District in Larimer County, to learn more about the district's transition to remote learning.

Interview Highlights

Stephanie Daniel: Poudre School District official started remote learning on March 23. How's the rollout going?

Madeline Noblett: The way we looked at this week was really as a transition week where our teachers were reaching out contacting families, parents and students. Checking in on them first and foremost as humans and just asking them how they're doing, if there's anything they need. Checking to see which students may or may not have internet access and starting to establish some norms for what things will look like for remote learning.

As we move into March 30 through April 17, that'll start becoming a deeper dive and getting into deeper learning and new lessons, new topics. This is hard work and we're going to have to work together to figure out how to make this as successful as it can be to keep helping kids grow in their learning.

Now that remote learning is up and running, what are some classes or curriculum teachers have already posted online?

We have some really neat examples that we're already seeing all across the district, hinting at all of the possibilities that come with this new remote environment. We're seeing teams collaborating and coordinating instruction in big groups together. We have teachers left and right who are reading stories on video. We have teacher who are posting workouts for PE classes online so that kids can be engaging in physical activity and continuing their learning in that space.

What is the district doing to provide equitable learning for students with learning disabilities?

Our Integrated Services team has been working really hard on all of their plans like other teachers. They're reaching out to families, figuring out what life is like for them today, what they need. Then as we are delivering general education, we are also providing special education.

They're figuring out how that delivery might work on a case-by-case basis depending on the students' needs and how their individualized education plans are written. But being flexible and knowing that that might look a little bit different for each family, whether that's teleconferencing or video calls. They're doing everything they can to ensure that we're delivering special education during this closure as well.

Is the district concerned about students meeting academic goals? For example, seniors finishing their courses so they can graduate on time.

Absolutely, we're concerned about that not just for seniors, but every student obviously and making sure that they're continuing to progress. We also acknowledge that there are some students whose families may have been upended in the past couple of days, the past couple of weeks. Families are losing jobs, home life might not look the same as it as it typically does.

So, making sure that our counselors and mental health team members and behavioral support specialists and teachers and everybody are working together to make sure that kids are taken care of first as students and people. But then also paying attention to the work that they're doing to help them get over the finish line here under extraordinary circumstances.

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