Today we were informed that Seattle Schools will be closed until at least April 24, and there is still no plan in place for online learning. When we were looking at a two-week closure Superintendent Juneau said students would receive paper learning packets. Meanwhile Northshore and Bellevue students have full blown online learning. Seattle should too.
When I was on the School Board four to eight years ago we discussed at great length the equity issues around home access to the internet. The fix is simple. Identify the students who don’t have access and partner with the City and cable companies to provide it. Find funds to cover it. Give these students computers to use at home. This hasn’t been done. So now there’s no online learning for almost 53,000 Seattle students because an unknown number don’t have access at home. That being said, there are emergency funds, and this is most certainly an emergency.
Plans for online learning need to be actioned immediately. Juneau and her team need to figure out which students need computers and internet access and provide it so that all Seattle students can continue their education remotely. Teachers need to be trained online during the next two weeks, and agreements need to be reached with SEA so that we can continue to do our jobs and students can move forward with their education.
At Ingraham High School where I work a few teachers are testing Microsoft Team Meetings in combination with Schoology. The District already has both, but there has been little training to bring teachers up to speed on either. No training. No plan. No problem. We’re going to figure this out and I will be posting as we go. Stay tuned!
Sharon Peaslee is a former Seattle School Board Director and currently teaches at Ingraham High School where she is Chair of the Business Department.