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4/14/2020

This is a challenging time and I appreciate that this is not at all how any of us thought the school year would go. I am an instrumental teacher in Spokane and hear from many of my students that they are not getting instruction time with teachers; the grade schoolers have received "activity packets", but the parents definitely feel left on their own. I continue to teach my students online and I know of a private school where the class has two or three Zoom sessions each week and the teachers also have daily office hours, another school is using Google Classroom, and a third has a 1-1 1/2 hour Zoom session with students 2-3 times per day. I am concerned, as a teacher and taxpayer, about the apparent loss of teacher-student interaction. I know we have a Virtual Learning program in this state; I've seen the ads in previous years and know a District #81 teacher who taught those online classes. It seems these resources----the already set-up VL and our certificated, dedicated teachers---are not being used to their fullest extent. In addition, the verbiage in the descriptions of student expectations at this time indicates that all of the work is optional, that for high schoolers, it doesn't even count towards a grade. The District has been truly conscientious about providing all students with a laptop and internet access. There really are no excuses at this point for families not to have access to Virtual Learning resources. I surely do think that more student-teacher interaction would benefit the students and their parents. Filling 2-4 hours daily with instruction without much teacher input is very challenging and the parents who still have jobs may not be able to support their children's learning in this way. Another consideration: without frequent, instructional student-teacher interaction, I wouldn't be surprised if many families choose homeschooling next fall; being bereft of the daily expertise of certificated teachers may well lead many to think there's not an academic reason to return to school. To summarize: could the District offer Virtual/Distance Learning with their regular teachers to all students? Thank you for all your thought and effort.

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