Parkway announces eLearning plan for remainder of spring semester

Parkway+School+District+announced+that+all+Parkway+schools+will+be+closed+for+the+remainder+of+the+spring+semester+Thursday%2C+April+9.

Lydia Roseman

Parkway School District announced that all Parkway schools will be closed for the remainder of the spring semester Thursday, April 9.

Due to COVID-19, all Missouri public and charter schools will be closed for the rest of the school year, and eLearning is to continue until the original end-of-semester date. Before this announcement was made, Parkway released the district’s plans for the remainder of the spring semester which remain the same despite school cancellations.

The district split the spring semester into two phases. Phase One being the 10 week period leading up to spring break, and Phase Two being eLearning, which will last through the end of the semester. Under the new guidelines, students have the opportunity to improve their Phase One grades by presenting proof of improvement to their teachers. As for Phase Two, all assignments issued during eLearning will account for 5% of the semester grade. This means 95% of a student’s grade was earned during Phase One, which is why the district is allowing for revisions. 

“The leaders of the district met with building principals, gained input from staff members and parents and used all of that information to determine a process that attempted to meet the needs of 18,000 students whose circumstances vary significantly,” Principal Jeremy Mitchell said. “I don’t think any school was ‘prepared’ for such a leap. I think our teachers care deeply about our students and have worked tirelessly to create an atmosphere of compassion along with learning.”

Though the announcement to continue eLearning through the end of the semester was not made until after spring break, teachers expected this and planned ahead of time.

“Before we left for spring break, [student teacher Chelsea] Hazell, and I made copies of generic study guide questions and issued copies of The Great Gatsby for our juniors,” English teacher Michelle Kerpash said. “Our thinking was that it would be better to have something ready and sent home in case we needed it. I had already seen other teachers in other parts of the country starting to switch and realized it was a matter of time before we needed to do the same.”

With the districts decision to count eLearning as 5% of each student’s semester grade, teachers have to rework their plans for the remainder of the semester.

“I’m glad that eLearning is counting for something so there is continuity for grading, as well as a way for students to continue showing what they are learning. [With] my online content, I’m rethinking how I’m assessing students. Again, what works in person doesn’t necessarily work online,” social studies teacher Mel Trotier said. “The amount seems low, though. My concern is that students may not be motivated to continue to do the work, or that 5% isn’t enough to show progress they are making.”

Not only are teachers adjusting their lesson plans, but they are also adjusting to their inability to communicate with students face-to-face.

“I do really miss going to school and seeing everyone,” Trotier said. “I became a teacher because I like teaching and being with my students for class, during passing period or when coaching. They can post an answer to a question I post, but there’s no conversation. It’s all been reduced to a computer screen.”

For more information, visit the district website and stay in contact with your teachers, counselors and administrators.