The COVID-19 pandemic is much from over, and meaning educators throughout the globe are nonetheless discovering creative and modern methods to help and train college students in school rooms, throughout hybrid instruction, and in digital settings.
By no means earlier than have educators been challenged and examined as they had been, starting in March 2020 and up till in the present day, and by no means earlier than has their resilience been extra obvious. Directors, know-how leaders, classroom academics, and educators in all roles have persevered as they taught every certainly one of their college students throughout a world pandemic.
Right here, eSchool News highlights Kanawha County Schools–certainly one of its Ok-12 Hero Awards finalists. Preserve studying to find how this district retains studying going in the course of a world pandemic.
Nominee: Kanawha County Schools
Nominated by: Second Life Mac
What makes this nominee a hero?
Kanawha County Faculties in Charleston, W.Va., covers about 900 sq. miles, and a few of that space is rural. The district has simply over 25,000 college students in grades pre-Ok to 12 in 68 faculties, and about 1,800 academics plus help workers.
When the state’s governor made the choice to shut faculties because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the district was on spring break. Leah Sparks, government director of know-how for Kanawha County Faculties, was involved that the colleges won’t re-open through the college yr.
The Kanawha district supplies iPads for every scholar in grades 4-12. As well as, most of the district’s elementary faculties used Title 1 funds to buy 1:1 gadgets for college students as younger as kindergarten.
Solely college students in grades 6 and up are allowed to take their gadgets residence. This meant that many college students didn’t have a tool at residence when the college closures had been introduced. It additionally threw a wrench into plans to refresh the district’s fleet of getting old digital studying gadgets.
Sparks instantly began spearheading a plan to distribute iPads to college students who wanted them, in addition to to college students who had turned in damaged gadgets. Her staff distributed gadgets to youngsters in a number of alternative ways, together with sending them on college buses with meal deliveries.
One roadblock Sparks encountered was web entry. About 93 p.c of Kanawha college students report having Wi-Fi at residence, in order that left some college students with out an web connection and a technique to entry classes. Sparks’ staff labored with native web firms to supply free service to households in want, and likewise promoted Wi-Fi hotspots obtainable at every of the district’s buildings. Buses additionally had been geared up with Wi-Fi so that they could possibly be deployed as cell sizzling spots.
With most of the district’s college students studying remotely, getting older iPad returned and upgraded was going to be difficult. College students and workers wanted to social distance, and faculty directors had been nervous about gathering gadgets that might presumably transmit the virus.
Sparks partnered with Second Life Mac to develop a protected technique to acquire and refresh gadgets. Utilizing Second Life Mac’s Touchless Commerce-in™ course of, college students with school-owned gadgets acquired a novel QR code on their iPad that was scanned throughout a drive-through commerce in occasion.
The QR code recognized the coed and the gadget, and recorded that the gadget had been returned. The previous gadget was positioned on a conveyer belt from the coed’s car, and it was acquired on the different finish by a rep. New gadgets had been handed out by one other rep.
Used gadgets had been sealed in containers and despatched again to the Second Life Mac warehouse, the place the gadgets had been sanitized, all information was eliminated to NIST requirements, and gadgets had been refurbished and resold through wholesale and retail channels.
Leah Sparks’ management through the pandemic illustrates how she put the security of her college students first whereas offering them with up to date studying instruments.