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Tulsa Public Schools provides update on distance learning

Posted at 10:43 PM, Sep 28, 2020

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Public Schools gave an update on distance learning late Monday afternoon.

District board and staff met virtually to discuss how distance learning is going so far using data from the first three weeks.

The district said in week one, 20 percent of students were disconnected from school. By week three, it was down to five percent of students disconnected.

The district said the most common needs from students and families have been getting Chromebooks and hot spots, clever log in badges and getting course schedules.

TPS said it’s also working to improve the function of distance learning tools and applications.

READ MORE: Tulsa Public Schools to discuss district's future in special meeting

The past four weeks have been a whirlwind for Christiaan Mitchell and his wife. Like many parents, they're juggling work and helping their elementary school children with distance learning at TPS. He said it’s given him a greater appreciation for teachers.

“It’s been very difficult," Mitchell said. "You know, there’s a reason I’m not a kindergarten teacher. To see it through the lens of someone actually trying to make sure they’re learning things, growing and developing, learning what they’re supposed to be learning and all that really, I think, underlines the exceedingly high degree of training and professionalism that our teachers have to exhibit every day."

Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist also gave an update on the district’s upcoming decision on how to hold school the second nine weeks. Gist said she plans to give her recommendation to the board next week, but didn’t say what that recommendation would be. She said she prioritizes science and data, but also recognizes the value of school in-person. The board will vote on the recommendation at its following meeting in two weeks.

For Mitchell, even though distance learning is a challenge, he said it’s working to slow the spread.

"It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me to take a situation that is barely under control and then remove one of the more effective control mechanisms we’ve had on the spread of the disease," Mitchell said.

The board also voted six to one Monday night to extend Dr. Gist’s contract. In June, the board extended it through 2023. This vote tonight with the new board extends it through 2024.

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