Students in Giles County have not seen the inside of their classrooms in nearly a month, but remote learning opportunities are abundant during this unprecedented crisis.
Giles County schools are currently scheduled to resume April 27, however the Tennessee Department of Education and the State Board of Education were to meet jointly April 9 to discuss what measures should be taken with regards to the remainder of the school year.
Due to these current closures and the uncertain future, the Giles County School Board is working to assess and meet the needs of local students during this and any future crises.
“Giles County School System employees are diligently working to provide continuity of instruction for our students during this unprecedented, rapidly changing situation,” Giles County Director of Schools Vickie Beard said. “Our educators are providing instructional opportunities utilizing a variety of means.”
“Many educators are continuing lessons through Google classroom as well as providing paper packets of instruction, posting instructional videos on social media, utilizing varied virtual platforms and communicating weekly with students,” Beard said.
Parents are encouraged to access online resources to supplement the educators’ lessons. The Giles County Board of Education has compiled a list of these sites for K-12 students and parents, available at http://bit.ly/gilesschoolresources. These websites include IXL and Study Island, which are familiar to local students. Parents are encouraged to log in to Moby Max, Reading Eggs, Math Seeds and MyOn, which are used in county classrooms. Additionally, individual schools have posted resources on their websites, which can be accessed by clicking the “Schools” tab at https://www.gcboe.us.
“In addition, PBS has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education and will be offering instructional sessions daily beginning April 6,” Beard continued.
The six PBS stations across the state, including WNPT Nashville locally, will broadcast two hours of content daily. They will stream an additional four hours of content overnight from 1-5 a.m., which viewers can watch live or record. Math and ELA content for seventh and eighth graders will begin the week of April 16. There are printable teacher lesson plans and student worksheets available at https://www.tn.gov/education/pbsteaching.html to coordinate with the broadcasts.
PBS Daytime Schedule
According to Beard, “Guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education is that students should not be exposed to new learning during the school closure but be provided with duplicative material to avoid regression or loss of already learned skills.”
Teachers in the state were recently surveyed by the Tennessee Education Association, and this learning loss was educators’ most pressing concern during the closure.
“Educators have been asked to survey our students to assess exactly who has the capability
for online or distance learning and who will need paper packets so that we can provide continued
access to instruction going forward,” Beard said.
If accessing online resources has been an issue, there are low-cost services being offered by internet service providers and wireless carriers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These may assist with distance learning, but are not required.
Hardline Carriers (Low-Cost options for eligible families)
Comcast Internet Essentials - $9.95/month internet plus low-cost computers, offering two months free during the crisis
Spectrum Internet Assist - $14.99/month for internet
Access from AT&T - $10-$15/month depending on internet speed provided. Offering two months free if application is received by April 30.
WiFi Internet Accessibility (Stream or create a WiFi hotspot using cellular devices. Contact your carrier for details)
Verizon Wireless: Currently under state contract, and devices are $0 cost. Service cost is $35/month/device for high utilization and $24/month/device for low utilization
T- Mobile: There is currently a $0 cost for devices and a $35/month per user for unlimited bandwidth
AT&T: Offering additional mobile data and late payment forgiveness
“Communication is crucial during this time, so if parents are not receiving our School Messenger calls or not receiving calls from teachers, please provide updated contact information. This can be done by emailing email@example.com or calling their child’s school and leaving a message.”
The Tennessee Department of Education has created a survey to solicit public feedback “on the most effective ways to help school districts address immediate needs to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.” The survey looks at how to spend federal relief funds distributed to school districts. Parents and other community members who wish to weigh in can take the survey at http://bit.ly/tneducationsurvey through April 13.
Beard added, “We want to assure our students that we miss them and look forward to returning to school very soon.”
K-12 Instructional Resources for Students and Parents