Sixth Grade Social Studies Teacher Malissa Atkinson working online with students
Sixth Grade Math Teacher Susan Dobbs designed NTI lessons for her students to meet the standards
Sixth grade Math Substitute Teacher Kyle Gehring works on student assignments
WCHS Receptionist Karen Campbell was taking phone calls from students to transfer to teachers
WCHS Spanish Teacher Gregory Barton checked off students who he had received responses from online.
Spanish students can view their NTI assignments through zoom
WCHS Math Teachers Liz McClain and Amy Weston collaborated on uploading tests online to GradeCam so students can be tested online.
Monticello Elementary Principal Virginia Cares and Teacher Gail Dishman used social distancing to discuss the NTI drop box location at the entry foyer of the school
Walker Early Learning Center Principal Angela Ballinger sorted through books and packages of manipulatives for young children that were being sent home to her students.
Walker Early Learning Center NTI Packets iocated in the foyer
Walker Early Learning Center Teacher Ashley Dunnington read a book to students via Classroom Dojo from home.
Reading to Achieve Teacher Stacey Corder reads a book to children with her dog over Dojo
Walker Early Learning Principal Angela Ballinger read to students through the Dojo App
Wayne County students and teachers work together during NTI Days
No one could have predicted that students would be studying from home during the current pandemic crisis, but fortunately Wayne County Schools had already implemented digital learning and up-to-date communications in a variety of ways allowing instruction to continue at each grade level.
Granted, there is no substitute for face to face interaction in a classroom to teach students. However, the Non Traditional Instruction (known as NTI) Days are allowing schools to do the best job they can in extending learning so students do not fall behind. Thankfully, the state has approved the extension of these days, which previously had been limited.
The staff has stepped up their game plans to deliver quality instruction through these difficult times. Each teacher has been assigned certain students, not just to educate, but to keep in touch with either over the phone or through electronic means in regards to their personal well-being , whether it be physical or emotional health. Teachers truly care about their students.
The schools have stressed that accurate contact information be established by families who may have changed residences or phone contact numbers recently, so there are not any communication glitches. The following contact link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQVQcT3H-fo38S0cweYsZyV2wu11laxvoqDtmqkB0NXUFDMg/viewform?usp=sf_link has been created to the Google Form for parents to provide updated contact information.
In the first week of this massive distance learning project, teachers reviewed and reinforced things they had already been doing.
“The longer this goes on, teachers are transitioning to new material, providing on-going instruction in the standards,” said Chief Academic Officer Brian Dishman, during the initials phase of the NTI days.
A Google Site https://sites.google.com/wayne.kyschools.us/nti/home has been created by the district as a backup place for students and parents to get copies of NTI work if they lose it or don’t receive it in the mail.
School building entrances or foyers have located drop boxes for families to return their child’s assignments to as well as a pick up locations for those missing their paperwork.
All of the elementary levels which include Walker Early Learning Center, Bell Elementary, and Monticello Elementary use the paper packets. The packets of instructional assignments were sent out through the mail on March 27 for lessons beginning April 6. Should the closure extend past April 20th, a second mailing of NTI packets will occur around Friday, April 17th.
The middle and high school have been able to carry on with class by using Google Classroom and Converge on Chromebooks (laptops that perform a variety of tasks using Google Chrome browser with most of the data stored in the cloud, rather than the machine itself) that the school has already been providing to each student. Students have adapted to digital learning in these grades and could easily transition to college online courses in their futures. In fact, some of the high school students include online college classes in their schedules, already.
Many of the high school teachers were introduced to a wonderful tool for distance learning called Zoom, just before going home. Wayne County High School Teacher Rachel Bertram facilitated a brief workshop on how to use the technology that might help during NTI days. The program allows teachers to host a video call with one student or a group. So students can watch in Google Classroom and can see each other’s faces, which helps to meet the need for student contact. So teachers can teach lessons, share a read aloud or just check in with them. Meetings can even be recorded so students that did not visit can watch it later.
Wayne County High School Spanish Teacher Gregory Barton said he had 20 students to check on and make sure they knew about the meals program, and that they did not have any mental or physical health issues as a result of the pandemic. He was also available to field academic questions on their NTI assignments. He explained that they had initially surveyed students to see who had Internet capabilities from their homes. If they did not have Internet, paper packets were sent to them.
After recently learning how to use Zoom, Barton reported that it was working well. He said as he gets ready to record his video lesson, he sends his students an invite by email. “I can see all of my students on the screen at one time. “
He then follows up by sending them the assignment. The students respond by sending him a screen shot of their work. He repeats the process each school day with new material.
“I like the video conferencing …it’s pretty cool stuff,” said Barton. “It is working pretty well so far.”
Barton said, “Most of my students want to be at school. This stay at home situation is harder on them than it is on us. We have great students.”
Media Specialists like Carol Ford sent teachers all kinds of reminders about endless online resources. KET to PBS to Follett Destiny Discover Lightbox (an online eBook platform) were amongst the numerous free offerings she called to their attention. She even had a resource to Hogwarts’s Escape Room, a fun Harry Potter online escape room that might be popular for young people.
At the middle school level, maybe three out of 15 students per class could not communicate electronically from home when they did their initial survey. In many cases, they may have just been missing one piece of technology like a charger perhaps, which could be addressed.
Sixth grade Math Teacher Susan Dobbs said, “We are moving on like we do normally using Google Classroom. Every day we have videos where we explain the topic, and then practice it.” First they reviewed one step equations and then they moved on to solving in-equalities.
Google Classroom is a service that allows educators to share files, create assignments, grade student work and communicate with students in a paperless way. The options seem to be endless where teachers can add resources to their instruction through linked articles or websites, for example.
On Day 3, March 16th, Seventh Grade Reading Department Chair Leah Turner carried on her assignments as normal. Students were told to read a text of their choice for 20 minutes, followed by the completion of an attached Read and Respond Google form. They were finishing the book, “Soldiers Heart” by reading chapter 10 “June 1867” and “Author’s Note” before answering questions over the reading. Next, they logged onto Flocabulary, as if they were still at school.
Even though it was a digital classroom, students could surely recognize her teacher voice when she informed them that she would continue reading class on a daily basis and expected them to complete the assignments in a timely fashion.
Beginning Day 13, all of the seventh grade reading teachers’ plans became the same.
At the elementary levels, all kinds of creative assignments are underway. Walker Early Learning Center’s teachers even dressed in themes, where one day was their favorite book or cartoon character to a Kentucky Strong day where they wore Kentucky related t-shirts. The students could see teachers reading stories to them dressed in the proper theme, through their Dojo App. Reading to Achieve Teacher Stacy Corder read to the children from home with her dog cuddled up with her.
Bell Elementary and Walker Elementary are very proactive communicating to their school communities through ClassDojo during normal times. Now, that tool is serving them even more through remote learning. It is helping families and students to stay connected in order to maintain important relationships while school is closed.
“We don’t have any down time here at Walker Early Learning Center,” said Principal Angela Ballinger. We work hard because with little people there is lots of stuff to do,” as she organized stacks of educational supplies set up on tables in the library.
She was surrounded by books and packages of manipulatives to help her little ones learn basic reading skills and develop fine motor skills. They had been purchased through a Kindergarten Readiness Grant and were to be used at Countdown to Readiness celebrations that had barely gotten off the ground when the schools had to abruptly close. Now, they were packaging the supplies up to send to students at home, so they could continue valuable learning time when their minds absorb so much information.
The schools are using every means available, whether it is One Call Messenger texts, emails, websites and social media to stay in touch with students so they do not drift from their studies. The staff is using new tools like PC Remote which allows remote connectivity to PC and its peripherals. This enables the staff to connect to their computer files at school, from home. Site based decision making meetings are going on through online means to come to consensus on items, so members do not get in close contact.