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Superintendent: ACPS Struggling to Reach Students Through Online Learning

Many teachers in Alexandria public schools are finding that students have not been as engaged in the learning from home process as many would have hoped, according to Superintendent Gregory Hutchings.

In an ACPS survey of families, students and staff, over half of the teachers said that they were having difficulty getting their students to participate in online learning. The results come as the school system recently unveiled its summer learning program.

“There are valid concerns from teachers about levels of student engagement that we must address as well,” said Hutchings in a newsletter. “According to our data, 53% of teachers said that less than half of their students engaged in learning the week before the survey.”

All students are expected to participate in summer school, but “any family who does not wish for their student to participate can opt-out,” according to ACPS.

The newsletter also noted that just over half of teachers agreed that students are making academic progress, compared with 84% of students and 78% of parents.

As learning from home is a vital part of the school division’s continuity of learning plans, Hutchings said that ACPS will need to look more into why students aren’t participating.

“We will dig deeper into this data over the coming weeks and pinpoint, where we can, patterns that may provide us with insight on how we can improve this data,” Hutchings said. “If students aren’t engaged with asynchronous and/or synchronous learning, then we need to determine why and do our best to reach those individuals as we begin our summer learning through engagement and enrichment with our Continuity of Learning Plan 3.0.”

The survey wasn’t all bad news:

  • Parents (83%), students (88%) and staff (84%) reported a high level of satisfaction with instructional and academic support.
  • The majority of parents (81%), students (78%), and staff (82%) were also satisfied with social and emotional support.
  • High percentages of parents (86%) and staff (82%) feel well-informed about decisions made by ACPS.

“The overall take-away was certainly a positive one and we are ecstatic to hear that we are meeting the mark in many ways,” Hutchings said. “This is great news for all of those who have worked so hard within ACPS to establish and execute a virtual curriculum during these unprecedented times.”

Staff photo by James Cullum

 

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