St. Vrain Valley School District officials are crediting teacher preparations for the district's ability to garner 100 percent student participation in virtual learning by the end of this school year.
Students in the St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) have not attended classes in school buildings since March 12, when Boulder County Public Health recommended that schools be closed in hopes of keeping the coronavirus from spreading further.
At the time, officials hoped that students would be out of school for two weeks with the possibility of returning after spring break. In the meantime, teachers spent their break changing lesson plans and preparing for online learning, just in case.
“St. Vrain Valley Schools has had a robust technology plan in place for a number of years that included a large focus on professional development and instructional supports. This enabled the district to quickly shift to an online environment to support student learning,” said Kahle Charles, assistant superintendent of assessment, curriculum, and instruction for SVVSD.
Although teachers were busy preparing, parents were less prepared and wondering: How do I balance work and make sure my student is still learning? What happens when I don’t know how to teach this subject? How does my student stay connected with teachers?
SVVSD said it was quick to reply to parents’ concerns.
“Our teachers and staff did an outstanding job connecting with students and families to engage them in the online environment and connect them with any needed technology support or other resources. Our systems approach to student and family engagement, alongside our rigorous, well-aligned standards, curriculum and instruction proved to be a tremendous asset as we quickly moved to continue advancing our work in this time of great uncertainty around the evolving health crisis,” said Charles.
Now that summer is here, parents can finally take off their teacher hats and let students enjoy the summer. For parents who are interested in continuing summer learning, the school district is encouraging students to read every day.
“Through use of the district-provided iPads, students have access to hundreds of books in our virtual libraries,” said Dr. Jackie Kapushion, deputy superintendent.
Kapushion also says that the district is providing opportunities for summer learning through online classes and camps at the SVVSD Innovation Center, and additional resources can be found at svvsd.org. The school district’s Mobile Innovation Lab will also be visiting neighborhoods to provide more learning opportunities for students.
But what will next school year look like? That’s unclear.
SVVSD teachers are spending their summers on professional development and making plans for the upcoming school year under any scenario. They are also taking the time they need to take care of themselves, said Kapushion.
While the teachers are preparing for the next class of students, the district is talking with Boulder County Public Health and Colorado officials to consider a variety of scenarios for the fall: In-person instruction, online instruction or a combination.
“While we have extensive planning in place to accommodate a number of different scenarios, we will wait to communicate any definitive plans until we have clear guidance from our health agency partners,” said Kapushion.