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Roaring Fork Students, Families And Staff Differ On How To Improve Distance Learning

Roaring Fork School District

Pueden encontrar la versión en español aqui

When Gov. Jared Polis ordered Colorado schools to close in mid-March due to the pandemic, the Roaring Fork School District, like others across the state, had to scramble to put distance learning in place. Now, they're asking for feedback on how virtual learning went in the spring and how it should change if the pandemic should close down its classrooms again. To do that, the district surveyed over 1,000 district students, parents and staff.

Lindsay Cox, a data analyst with the district, said some of the most useful findings are feedback on academic workload and meeting times for teachers and students. 

The survey found a majority of students want to see their workload and academic challenge decrease if they continue to distance learn in the fall, while parents said they want to see an increase in workload and more of a challenge for their students. 

Credit Screenshot / Roaring Fork School District
Roaring Fork School District
According to the survey by Roaring Fork Schools, students want to see more self-paced independent work, parents want to see students work with their teachers in real-time and staff wants to see a balance of those two if the district must continue distance learning in the fall.

The Roaring Fork School District focused on self-paced independent work when they transitioned to distance learning in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 40% of students want more asynchronous work, 50% of parents want students to work more directly with their teachers and 57% of staff want to see a balance of both self-paced work and real-time lessons. 

While working from home this spring, students and teachers attended weekly "Crew" meetings to help maintain relationships. According to district staff members, 58% of students attended those meetings. When asked how frequently students and teachers should meet in the fall if virtual learning continues, 41% of students said they want to keep crew meetings to once a week. Parents want to see daily meetings and staff said they would like to meet once or twice a week. 

Credit Screenshot / Roaring Fork School District
Roaring Fork School District
Most Roaring Fork School District students and teachers would like to meet once-a-week to check-in with one another while distance-learning. District parents would like to see crew meetings happen daily.

Out of the 1,067 students, parents and staff that responded to Roaring Fork School District's survey, 79% of students and 89% of parents said they live in an English-language-dominant home. Though, the district reports nearly half of their students live in homes where English isn't the primary language.

Lindsay Cox said all of the data from the survey will help the district formulate a distance-learning model for the fall if the pandemic forces them to do so. 

"When we're getting to the point when we're getting to figuring out a little bit more of the logistics of this, we'll be looking at some of those suggestions that students, parents and staff made," Cox said. 

The Roaring Fork School District Board of Education is expected to announce a learning model for the fall on July 24. 

Spanish translation of this story is made possible by a grant from the Google News Initiative’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

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