SALT LAKE COUNTY – Educators across Utah are trying to clear up any confusion about the end of the school year, adding that things are happening when they usually would, although it may not appear that way, at first.
When the Alpine School District sent a statement to parents saying there would be no new lessons after May 12, they got concerned calls. Some parents asked if the school year was coming to an end a few weeks earlier than the district originally planned. Spokesperson Kimberly Bird says that’s not the case, and even if there aren’t any new lessons, that doesn’t mean education has stopped.
“In a traditional year, we never have to say to parents, ‘We’re going to cut off new instruction,’” she says.
Think back to your school days and how it may have felt like there wasn’t a lot of learning over the last couple of weeks of the year. Bird says they give extra time to children who need to finish making up work they may have missed or to focus on taking AP tests. This year, with so many children learning from home, many parents are seeing this for the first time.
Officials from other districts say this extra time at the end of the year is also important for teachers who have hundreds of tests and assignments to grade before the end of the year.
Will things be back to normal in the fall? That’s hard to say. Bird says the proverbial target keeps moving when districts ask that question.
Bird says, “We keep getting told, ‘We’ll learn something on May 1.’ Then, ‘We’ll learn something on May 15.’ We have to plan for things we can’t see, at this point.”
The Granite School District is working under the assumption that in-person schooling will resume in August, however, they’re preparing for both scenarios, just in case.
“I would expect that there will still be some parents who are leery about sending their students to school,” says Spokesman Ben Horsley.
It’s too soon for educators to really know how successful their online classes worked for the overall student body. Horsley says they hope to get a lot of feedback, good or bad, when they send parents their customer service satisfaction survey at year’s end. He says, if there are problems, they want to fix them.
“We know that our distance learning instruction is effective for some of our students who can learn in this fashion. Some of our students are, frankly, struggling,” Horsley says.
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