Changing the way 18,000 students learn doesn’t happen overnight. When schools closed across the region last spring, we knew our students needed an immediate shift to continue learning
“Our first priority was to provide teachers with the tools, resources and training they needed right away to support our students. From there, our teachers did all the work and deserve all the credit,” said Kevin Beckner, assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and accountability.
Still, learning online during the emergency closure was a challenge for everyone.
There is no substitute for an in-person educational experience for most students. However, on average, student grades, attendance and engagement this year are comparable to previous years.
“The data tells us most students and our staff did the best they could and ultimately adapted to learning in new models and platforms,” Beckner added.
This spring, as we returned to more in-person learning, about 30% of our students chose to continue learning online in Parkway’s full-time
Where are we headed?
“It is important to provide extra support to our students who have struggled during this time. We are doubling down this summer to help these students,” said Beckner. This year, summer school is designed to focus on students who need extra support. Teachers will personalize instruction based on individual student needs and focus on priority reading and math learning targets that are necessary for starting the next grade level.
Virtual Campus is here to stay. Some of our students are thriving in a virtual learning environment and feel this choice is the best fit for their learning long term. Based on feedback from parents and students, Virtual Campus will continue to be an option for families for the 2021-22 school year.
Virtual courses and learning were already part of our long-term strategic plan to offer personalized choices in Parkway to meet the diverse needs of all students and families. The pandemic accelerated our plans and allowed us to offer full-time virtual learning for next year.
Returning to a Familiar School Experience
Parkway plans to return to five day, in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year.
Grades and test scores often don’t tell the entire story of how our students are doing.
Over the past year, it was important to ensure our students continued to receive the proper social-emotional support. Whether students were learning in-person or online, Parkway counselors, social workers and care coordinators provided one-on-one sessions, small-group sessions, classroom lessons and mental health supports and resources. In some cases, this meant visiting students at home.
“We know the mental health of our children was impacted in the last year. There is still work to be done. We see more opportunities to proactively serve our students’ mental health needs,” said Erin Schulte, Parkway coordinator of counseling and character education.
This spring, Parkway is starting a new student wellness screening program in partnership with an outside agency. The program allows students in fifth, seventh and 10th grade to receive a mental health wellness screening. If a concern arises, the student and family will be connected to a therapist who will walk them through the process of seeking additional help. The program is being piloted at four schools this spring with the intent to provide screening for every school in the fall.
Copyright © 2021 Parkway Schools - All Rights Reserved.