FPS: Distance learning improvements for new school year

There's hope that grading and attendance will keep students motivated and accountable.
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 7:18 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 10:40 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

For Brittany Thompson and her family, distance learning played out like a game of tug-of-war.

"I'm not the best teacher, I mean, I try," she says. "It's difficult holding the baby and having all three sitting at the table trying to do their school work."

She's a Fargo mom of four. In their home, remote learning was a daily struggle.

"I don't think they learned much from it. To me, it was a lot of play," Thompson says. "There was some math here and there, a little bit of spelling."

Her seven-year-old is on the autism spectrum. When school shut down, Thompson says he lost the critical support he needed.

"In-person would be a lot better. It's a lot more one-on-one and that's what he needs," she says. "I can't give him all that because of the one-year-old I have to take care of. I'm the only one at home while my husband works."

Fargo Public Schools will be working with IEP students individually. Thompson says she's going to stay with remote learning for her other kids this fall.

According to the school board's plan, kids will be taught online five days a week. They'll be expected to participate in live lessons and complete assignments.

"The accountability piece going back on the teacher with academics and attendance will put that to a higher level," Fargo Education Association President Jennifer Mastrud says. "Of course, as we meet, we can identify those particular students who aren't addressing."

There's hope that grading and attendance will keep students motivated and accountable. Students will only be marked as present after completing their work.

Teachers will also give families progress reports. If a kid starts to struggle, they can be pulled into the school for a one-on-one intervention.

Tools and technical assistance will be provided for distance learning. Along with all other services available for kids going to school.

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