Green Bay school district teachers and parents prepare for unprecedented start of school year

Teachers explain virtual learning will look much different.
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 10:37 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -The first day of school is one week away for families in the Green Bay Area Public School District. 

Both parents and teachers are doing what they can to prepare for the start of an unprecedented school year. 

“We’re doing supply pickup and then the virtual meet and greets,” said Katie Wilson, mother of two, as she writes a schedule on her dry-erase board.  

Her kids attend Jackson Elementary School, and will be in the second and fourth grade. Every year around this time, she does her best to prepare them for the start of the school year.  

“Prior to school starting, I get my children into a ritual.  Get up at a certain time, get ready, get out the door, kinda structure their day for them,” said Wilson. 

As the first day of school approaches, Wilson is anxiously waiting for more information from her kids’ teachers. 

 “At this point I have nothing to go on as far as structuring their day virtually,” said Wilson. She says the virtual meet and greet with one teacher is scheduled for Thursday.  

She’s hoping the online experience will be much different, especially for her son who struggled when schools closed in the spring. 

“My son shut down, he just did not want to do anything because I am not a teacher,” said Wilson, who said he questioned why he had to do school work, and why he couldn’t go to school. 

Meanwhile, teachers have been preparing for the school year too and say virtual learning will look much different this time around. 

“Over the summer we’ve had a lot of time to prepare and I know there has been a lot of professional development and teachers have been working really hard on learning the new platforms,” said Michelle Flicek, who teaches first grade at King Elementary School. 

“We’re going to be doing a lot more live sessions with live teaching, so I think the parents are really going to appreciate that,” said Flicek. 

Literacy, math and language will be taught in live sessions, while students will have the opportunity to do other activities independently.

Flicek taught virtual summer school and says even the younger students got the hang of online learning. 

“When we’re starting to use Google meets and Seesaw in our district, students really can use those things independently where the parent doesn’t necessarily have to be sitting next to them all day long,” said Flicek. 

Seesaw is an online learning journal where students can upload projects. 

“The nice thing about it is that it’s very easy to use for students, teachers and families. Anytime the students put something into their journal, the family will get a notification, so they’re able to see how the student is doing on different activities,” said Flicek. 

Students won't have to be on their screens all day either and there will be opportunities to do lessons later if need be. 

“If they can’t attend the live sessions during the day, there will be recorded video lessons for the students to be able to watch,” said Flicek. 

Virtual schedules will also be consistent across grade levels and parents are encouraged to reach out to their schools and teachers if they have questions.

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