Mustang prepares to implement distance learning

Mustang Public Schools officials say they’re feeling an esprit de corps as they prepare to launch distance learning for the district’s 12,361 students beginning Monday.
“There’s a feeling of ‘we’ve got this,’” spokesman Kirk Wilson said.
Administrators are working around the clock to devise curriculum and educational delivery methods, he said.
They have three objectives for the evolving approach to teaching – encourage students, engage them and empathize with the challenges that families face, Wilson said.
“When parents hear ‘distance learning,’ it causes lots of concerns. We don’t want parents to worry that they have to go out and buy a device or worry if their internet connection goes down,” he said.
The district is developing alternative ways to communicate with families without internet access, Wilson said.
“We’re not expecting parents to become teachers,” he said.
“We’re just looking for ways to reinforce skills students already have, not teach new content.”
Officials also are checking if they have current email addresses and phone numbers for parents.
If parents want to submit new information, they should email [email protected]
The Oklahoma Department of Education is taking the lead in developing learning material that can be delivered remotely, Wilson said.
“We’re working with other nearby districts, including Yukon, Edmond and Piedmont, and even with Stillwater and Guthrie on how to do things and how to communicate with students and parents,” he said.
“We’re using webinars and meetings through Google Hangouts,” he said.
Teachers will be in contact with students through the remainder of the school year, although the teacher reaching out to a student won’t necessarily be the same teacher a student has now for a grade level or subject, Wilson said.
“We’re going to make mistakes, for sure, but we’ll make adjustments as we go along,” he said.
Once Mustang schools launch distance learning, they will turn their attention to other challenges that the closing of schools created.
“If a student has left their trombone or their clarinet at school, we want to find a way to get it back to them, but it probably will be after the stay-at-home policies are lifted,” Wilson said.
The district will announce its teacher of the year and other awards and reschedule its pre-K roundup at some point, he said.
“We want everyone to know that we’re all in this together,” he said.

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