Educators adjust curriculum and provide distance learning tips

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 21:01:56-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- With the learning gap growing every day now that students are out of the classroom, educators are scrambling to adapt their curriculum.

San Diego Unified School district is exploring what students can do to make their distance learning experience successful.

As graduation season approaches, educators are already planning for the next school year.

"This is tough, and there is no playbook that is provided on how to do this," California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond said in a state-wide webinar for educators Thursday.

With at least a 10% cut in the education budget, combined with a need for more money to accommodate distance learning, smaller class sizes, and new technologies, educators are desperate.

"This is why we've asked the federal government for relief. It's why we've asked our state leaders to do more, including giving schools a portion of the state rainy day fund," San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten said.

Following the state webinar, the San Diego Unified School District held its own virtual discussion through zoom. The district invited unique and blended learning experts to help close the recent learning-gap, often called the 'COVID-Slide.'

The district announced all summer school credit recovery courses would be taken online this year. Students will be encouraged to use self-scheduling and teaching methods already implemented by the district's independent study and non-traditional schools.

"We will sit down next to a student and take out a calendar, and help them map out, here's what you should do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday," Mt. Everest Academy teacher, Dr. Kris Rodenberg said.

"Write everything down on a post-it, and the kids and re-arrange it in a schedule that works for them," Mountain View School principal, Rhea Brown suggested.

They say students must not only study what to learn but how to learn in this new environment. For example, siblings may become mentors to each other.

"Letting siblings work together on projects. Our families have found that it eliminates a lot of stress," Brown said.

But they understand that while these tips may help some, it does not work for everyone. So the challenge continues.

"Our students deserve the opportunity to still receive a great education even in the face of this challenge," Thurmond said.

Thurmond also said in the fall lesson plans will likely be a blend of online and in-person teaching. They will emphasize classroom learning for elementary students and distance learning for older students.