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Advice to parents? Ask for help if you're struggling with "remote learning"

Posted at 8:38 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 10:42:28-04

CORVALLIS — School may be winding down for the year but some parents are likely still feeling "wound up" by the responsibility of remote learning, and the prospect local school districts aren't ruling out the possibility if the pandemic continues this fall.

Corvallis High School Principal Cammie Knapp describes her staff as "resilient".

Like educators across Montana, they had to hit a big curveball when Gov. Steve Bullock asked schools to close in March.

"Especially the phone call that they received on a Sunday evening, then changing the format, and delivery of our education," Knapp said.

But rather than tailspin, Corvallis leaders -- like others across the state -- adapted with every idea and tool at their disposal. While some students have struggled with no classes, others have excelled.

"A lot of these kids, they might have had an issue of coming to school due to anxiety or other issues," said Knapp "They're now able to just login within the comfort of their own home. Possibly have Pajama Day, every day if that's what they choose. So it doesn't matter of them coming to a building. They're able to still have access to that education."

If you're feeling frustrated trying to keep up with everything right now -- with all of the concerns over the pandemic, your work schedule, plus teaching the kids -- it's okay. The teachers say to ask for some help.

"I find some of the students are challenged with not knowing how to ask for help, as well as parents being frustrated with that as well," said Knapp. " It's like 'who do I talk to? Who do I reach out too?' So here at the high school, we've been trying to call weekly, checking in on kids, especially kids who are struggling. But also we've done some home visits as well."

Knapp stresses the teachers are ready to help and will be if remote learning returns this fall. The district has also learned to cut confusion with directions once a week. Timing is critical at home too.

"And that's one of the conversations that I have had with parents," said Knapp. "They were like 'I don't know what I need to do with my kid.' And I said, let's set some boundaries. Make sure you maybe set aside a designated homework time during the day."

Knapp says parents shouldn't worry about their kids being left behind, something MTN News has heard in other local districts. Expanded summer programs will help, especially for high school students.

"And we don't want students to get further behind with credits, because then we're at risk of them not graduating," said Knapp. "And so with looking at summer school, we are looking at giving them the opportunity to complete that course work with help from a teacher, face-to-face, instead of the online format."

Knapp says limited Internet, and an initial shortage of devices did present some early problems, particularly when several children in a household had online classes simultaneously. That's lead to some scheduling adjustments.