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Distance learning at Lake Roosevelt gets mixed participation

As “distance learning” continues at Lake Roosevelt Schools during the COVID-19 pandemic that has kept students out of classrooms, principals weigh in on students’ participation in online classes. 

During the May 26 school board meeting, held electronically via Zoom, the topic of student participation came up. 

LR Elementary School Principal Lisa Lakin said teachers are getting participation from about 65% of their students. 

“Every week that students ‘check in’ with their teacher they are counted as attending,” Lakin’s report to the board, included with the meeting agenda, explains. 

She told the board that 35% are not “consistently being involved.” 

LR Junior/Senior High School Principal Kirk Marshlain reported somewhat similar numbers.

Marshlain told the board that about 11% of students, about 40, haven’t engaged at all, with no work returned. 

He said about 40%-50% are not engaging in just one or two of their classes. He said they are trying to figure out why. 

Marshlain said giving students incentives, making resources more readily available, and having a clearer communications plan with students are solutions they are exploring.

Seniors, on the other hand, were all engaging in their work, Marshlain said.

Superintendent Paul Turner said that “our big worry come fall is how are we going to catch up with and engage those kids that are not with us right now? That is a really deep concern of ours.” 

Staff member Kim Stanger said later in the meeting that many students hadn’t engaged in certain classes in “regular school” even before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Some kids get along better with a teacher and are more excited about a class, and that’s just how it is,” she said. 

Carrie Derr, who teaches third grade, in an email to The Star on Monday, said that her class is at 75% engagement, meaning 25% are not engaged.

She said the lack of engagement is related to lack of internet or devices to support online learning, minimal support at home (“very hard for parents who are working”), lack of motivation, or school not being a priority for a variety of reasons.

She also said the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is supposed to release guidance on June 8.

“Hopefully it addresses many of the issues we, students, parents, teachers, are facing right now,” Derr said.


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