SALEM, Ore. — Addressing the superintendents and principals of Oregon public schools on Monday night, state officials underlined the "strong possibility" that schools will remain shuttered for the remainder of the academic year.
With that likelihood in mind, Oregon is pushing ahead with what they're calling "Distance Learning for All" — a statewide effort to implement education at a distance that nonetheless will have to be handled on a district level.
Online education resources by County & District
- Medford School District
- Central Point School District
- Eagle Point School District
- Phoenix-Talent School District
- Ashland School District
- Butte Falls Charter School
- Prospect Charter School
"Of course, education without face-to-face interaction between students and teachers will look and feel different and cannot be fully replicated across a distance. It will not and cannot happen overnight," said Colt Gill, director of the Oregon Department of Education. "We need the grace and patience of our state’s leaders, our communities, our families, and our educators as we learn together to move powerfully to ensure care, connection, and continuity of learning happen in entirely new ways for our students."
For most school districts in southern Oregon, plans for remote education opportunities have been underway for at least a week.
On Tuesday, the Central Point School District announced "D6 Connected," its answer to online learning that will launch on Wednesday. Preparation has included the launch of a new website that will link to each individual school and online lessons.
"The heart of D6 Connected is our program to give every D6 student access to meaningful and engaging remote learning while maintaining their teacher and school connections," the District said in a statement.
The program promises a single point of contact for every student; tech support for students, staff, and parents; academic support and counseling for children; information on the bus deliveries of food and education materials; and curriculum development and instruction by Central Point teachers.
Meanwhile, Medford School District has been working on getting Google Chromebooks out to students who need them so that they can launch their own distance learning program — bolstered by "Anywhere Learning TV," which launches on April 6 and will air on NewsWatch 12. In the meantime, Medford already has a website up with resources available.
Filming intro/outro spots with @MSDBret, superintendent of Medford schools, for our new MSDTV “Anywhere Learning TV”—big thanks to Bret, Natalie & other educators helping to make this happen! @MSD549C #MSDTV @reportinglabs @NVradenburg @KerriBalint @NewsHour @PBS @tishrich pic.twitter.com/NvFuVcBsMh
— BenGarcia (@BenPBS_TCP_SO) March 25, 2020
Ashland Public Schools announced its supplemental education program, slated for launch on Wednesday. Ashland's effort has been aided by an offer of free internet for students and staff that need it through the city's fiber broadband network. Individual schools are contacting students with the details for those learning assignments, whether through the internet or paper packets.
"Please remember that supplemental education is different from online learning," the District said in a letter to families. "We will not be taking attendance, tracking IEP goals, or assigning grades during this time. We will be providing content, resources, and personal outreach to focus on the essential knowledge and skills your child needs."
Colt Gill from OED underlined that not all distance learning be online, but that there are opportunities for districts to provide distance learning through a variety of means, in a way that will serve all students.
"Our children and educators deserve more than we can provide right now; we must let this thought drive our innovation and help us strive to overcome disparities and build resilience in our students and educators," Gill said. "This effort will call on all our creativity and talents as well as deep partnership with families to reach all students to provide care, connection, and continuity of learning."