Roaring Fork parents invited to assess district’s distance learning approach via survey |

Roaring Fork parents invited to assess district’s distance learning approach via survey

Roaring Fork School District parents are being asked to weigh in on the distance learning plan that is under way while schools remain closed.

Schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt have been taking a phased approach to online learning, as public and private K-12 schools closed to in-classroom learning in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado.

That included informal teacher check-ins with students, along with optional educational activities earlier in April. Formal instruction began on April 20, and students will be assessed by teachers to close out the school year.

“Our goal is to quickly collect feedback on how the distance learning plan has been working for students, parents, and staff members and determine what, if any, adjustments need to be made for the remainder of the spring,” the district stated in an invitation sent out Monday for parents to complete the online survey.

The survey, targeted to current parents with students in the Roaring Fork Schools, is to be completed by Friday. Questions are asked in both English and Spanish.

“We have already heard from a variety of voices, and are taking a continuous improvement approach,” Rick Holt, chief academic officer for the district, said during an April 22 school board tele-conference meeting.

The survey will help the district know if it is achieving its goals in terms of students’ ability to adapt to online learning and parents comfort level with assisting them, or whether more needs to be done, Holt said.

Results of the survey are to be shared with the school board next week. 

In determining how to carry out its distance learning plan, the district decided to take an approach that allowed students to complete school work as they are able to during the day, rather than at set times.

With the understanding that many families may have competing needs in terms of sharing devices and work-from-home schedules, as well as childcare for younger children, the district wanted the learning program to be flexible, explained Ben Bohmfalk, technology integration facilitator for the Roaring Fork Schools.

That’s not to ignore the importance of synchronous, real-time learning in an online classroom format, he said. The result was a more “blended” approach using some real-time techniques, such as live crew meetings between students and teachers, as well as live “office hour” times during the day for teachers to provide direct assistance to students.

Online learning was also limited to grades three through high school, while K-2 students are doing most of their learning via paper materials in packets that are provided for them to do at home.

For teachers, he said the goal was to make use of online tools that they were already familiar with and expanding on that, Bohmfalk said. 

The daily schedule calls for a minimum of two hours of teacher availability through office hour times each day, Holt added.

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