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Survey Results: Students and Parents on Distance Learning

District reports findings of recent survey

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Safety and more in-person connections for students and teachers were the top priorities for parents and students as they thought about having distance learning or not in the new school year.

More than 1300 parents/guardians and nearly half of the students in grades 3-8 participated in the May 29-June 4 survey. The results will help district leaders understand concerns for reopening school in the fall; understand the desire for some to continue distance learning even when we can bring students back; and plan for needs and communication to various groups.

Staff also participated in a thoughtexchange. We are reviewing the results to see how we can address concerns about safety, stress, time for preparation, and professional development.

Parents' Priorities

Seventy-seven percent of parents who participated in the survey (English and Spanish) said they prefer to send their children back to school when it is safe to do so. Their top priorities:

  1. Actual teaching session online (small groups for 30 mins a day), not just daily check in video chats. (Allow students to actually learn from their teachers directly then assignments/independent learning is additional practice.)

  2. Children need to see their teachers explaining exercises as if they were in class, and it is important that teachers make videos explaining lessons.
  3. I want my child to be in touch with her classmates.

  4. Instruction by teachers because parents aren’t educators and elementary kids are not self directed.

  5. Interactive learning. Interactive learning gives children the social plus learning goals together.

Students told us about their distance learning experience.

What worked:

  1. It is important that we maintain a personal contact between teacher and student.

  2. When teachers keep everything organized and when they show us how we are to do the assignment.
  3. I can eat lunch and take breaks whenever I want to.
  4. Google classroom I know what to do and easy to turn in.

What didn’t work:

  1. Procrastinating. It’s hard because I’m not motivated.

  2. Not being able to get clarification in the moment when you aren’t sure what to do.

  3. Confusing. It sometimes gets confusing when all of the teachers post many things at once. It would be easier if they had an agenda so we can be more organized.

  4. I think the biggest challenge for me is getting distracted.

  5. My greatest challenge with distance learning is trying to do my work on time and making sure I get all the answers right especially on a test.

What's Next?

“We appreciate hearing from so many participants,” said Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “The feedback will inform decisions as we continue our planning for the new school year.” 

Regarding those plans, the district will be sending a sstudent-pecific questionnaire to families to obtain more definitive answers about which students—student-by-student—would prefer to continue distance learning full time. “We have about 5,000 families in the district, and we need to hear from all of them. We need more concrete numbers in order to determine how—and if—we can allocate staff to provide for full-time distance learning while also having staff for in-person instruction,” she said.