Commentary on Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools, parents and online learning

Scott Girard:

Harper and other parents who spoke with the Cap Times in the days following the decision said they hoped for more direct interaction with teachers and that the schedule or plans for their students could be communicated a week or two at a time.

During a press conference following the virtual plan announcement, Belmore said MMSD is “working really hard” on how to make the experience better this fall. Assistant superintendent for teaching and learning Lisa Kvistad said they would provide professional development focused on “multiple areas,” and hoped staff would be able to have more live instruction or availability along with projects or assignments for students on their own time.

“We learned a lot from the surveys from parents, teachers and staff about how to make virtual learning more robust when we go back in the fall,” Kvistad said. “So we’re designing clearer roles and responsibilities, we’re looking at how to manage and organize adults in the building to provide rigorous support, we are talking about how to pay attention to the social-emotional wellness of children … and we are also planning on how we can support teacher teams as they work together and deliver synchronous and asynchronous learning to students during the course of the week.”

Kerry Zaleski and Abdul Thoronka moved their incoming sixth-grader to the Wisconsin Virtual Academy for the year because “the infrastructure and everything is already there,” but their incoming sophomore daughter will remain at East High School. Thoronka was briefly laid off from his job in the spring, as well, so he was able to help his then-fifth-grader through learning, while their daughter was able to remain mostly independent.

It would be useful to evaluate teacher, parent and student use of the District’s portal: Infinite Campus…..