Howard-Suamico updated on virtual learning
By Ben Rodgers
SUAMICO – The best estimate from the Howard-Suamico School District is about 80 percent of students are completing their virtual learning work.
This was discussed at the Monday, April 6, school board meeting that was held remotely.
“We have had really good participation,” said Dr. Becky Walker, assistant superintendent of academics and innovation. “I’ve had teachers report they’ve had 80 percent of their kids turn stuff in, who want to be there and want to be engaged.”
The district recently completed the first week of providing online instruction for its nearly 6,000 students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walker said the district is preparing to move ahead with the idea that in-person classes may not resume this school year.
“Social emotional wellness, making connections, things we have in place with digital learning, with families and teachers, now we’re preparing to do this for the rest of the school year,” she said. “We don’t know that for certain yet, but that’s what we’re in the process of preparing for.”
To connect with the 20 percent of students who are not engaged, Walker said educators have been instructed to handle the situation like in the classroom, where teachers would go to support staff like social workers and counselors to engage students.
Brian Nicol, director of communications, said the district website has been the main means to get messages to district shareholders, including parents.
Since the revamped website launched last month, Nicol reported 15,000 people have visited the COVID-19 page.
The digital learning guide also has close to 750 clicks, he said.
“We anticipate an extended closure, and we do think the types of questions, especially at the high-school level, are going to get a little more pointed or granular,” Nicol said. “So we are anticipating a little more robust document than planned.”
Matt Spets, assistant superintendent of operations, said the district has given away more than 12,000 free lunches since March 30.
Spets said the lunches are available Mondays and Wednesdays, and children do not need to be district residents, just under 18.
Lunches are available from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m at Deer Park Run, Green Bay Community Church, Howard Elementary School, Lineville Intermediate School, Meadowbrook Elementary School and Pinewood Park.
The pandemic has also impacted facility costs in the district, Spets said.
“Over a half-million dollars in savings just in the last fiscal quarter will be found,” he said.
New policy, waiver request
The board formally approved a waiver request for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in regards to relaxing certain graduation requirements for the school year.
“We shifted gears from short-term planning into more mid-range, longer-range planning, as it relates to the school year,” said Superintendent Damian LaCroix.
The board also passed a new policy in regards to virtual meetings.
In part, the policy suspends the requirement that members be physically present for a quorum, and the public and media is prohibited from attending in person.