Distance Learning Thoughtexchange Results (October 5, 2020)
Over the summer, Duarte Unified engaged all stakeholders in the Re-visioning Roadmap Process that informed our Board of Education’s decision to start the 2020-21 school year with 100% Distance Learning. After five weeks of Distance Learning, we re-engaged our students, parents/guardians, and teachers/staff to assess stakeholder satisfaction with Distance Learning and to gain feedback to make any improvements. We set up the following four different ThoughtExchanges to differentiate the responses by stakeholder group:
- Parents/Guardians of preschool and elementary students
- Parents/Guardians of secondary students
This process provided us with significant feedback on which to reflect and consider for possible action. In total, 1,078 stakeholders participated in these ThoughtExchanges, sharing 1,161 thoughts and rating 27,733 thoughts of other participants. All participants were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with Distance Learning so far this year. The results were as follows:
Parents of Preschool and Elementary Students
Parents of Secondary Students
Highlights from the Data:
- All the parents/guardians and teachers/staff responded similarly as either satisfied or highly satisfied with Distance Learning ranging from 74 - 77% whereas the students responded with relatively lower general satisfaction with Distance learning at 55%.
- When asked for their satisfaction with the technology and online platforms, the parents/guardians and teachers/staff responses were generally more positive than the student responses. The adults were 73-78% satisfied or highly satisfied with the technology and online platforms while the 45% of the students were satisfied or highly satisfied.
- When asked for their satisfaction with the amount of synchronous and asynchronous learning, all the stakeholders were generally aligned with 63 - 80% responding satisfied or highly satisfied.
The Thoughtexchange also provided a platform for sharing ideas on how Distance Learning could be improved. The analysis of these thoughts are categorized into themes that are provided below:
- Less homework
- Less screen time
- More time to complete assignments
The highest rated comment for students was: Seriously I lost so much material because of the damn connection and my WiFi is great, runs with high speeds but the chrome book can’t pick it up. It’s so annoying to assume that all students are not participating when lots are. We can’t all receive the same attention because I actually participated.
Parents of Preschool and Elementary Students:
- Better laptops
- Better internet connections
- More small group sessions with the teacher
The highest ranked comment by parents of preschool or elementary students was:Teachers and school staff I hope you know that as a parent I value and respect everything you have done these past few months. You deserve GREAT recognition.
Parents of Secondary Students:
- More time outside of live sessions when the teacher is available to answer student questions and provide help
- Clarify ways to upload assignments and confirm that the teacher received the assignment in time
The highest ranked comment by parents of secondary students was: Give extra help to those students who need it. Teachers and staff should be available to help throughout the day. Some kids need more instructions in order to be able to understand certain subjects.
- Resources to help families navigate Google classroom
- More time for prep and learning new digital programs
- New teacher laptops
The highest rated comment by teachers was: Kudos to everyone for rolling with the punches Everyone has jumped in and made giant efforts to ensure a quality education for our students! We all deserve to be recognized for our diligence!
Click on the links below to view the full summary reports of the data for each exchange.
Refelctions and Actions Based on the Data
Some of the most concerning issues during Distance Learning last year were no longer identified in this year’s Thoughtexchange. Last year, parents and students reported that they wanted more live interaction with teachers. Based on the results of this year’s stakeholder engagement, the amount of time dedicated to synchronous learning is no longer a prevalent issue.
Issues related to technology and connectivity are now a predominant concern. Actions have already been initiated to address technology related issues:
- New teacher laptops and headsets/microphones have been purchased and delivered to the teachers.
- Chromebooks for students were purchased to replace older laptops. (Unfortunately, the inventory of available Chromebooks is limited and delivery of these new units has been delayed until December.)
- Upon analysis of issues with internet connectivity, it was determined that in some cases multiple students in one home are sharing one District-issued portable wifi device (hotspot) which may create a slow connection. (More hotspots have been ordered, yet the limited inventory has created a further delay.)
The issue of providing more time and/or less work for students at the secondary level is being addressed. Actions have already been initiated:
- This was discussed during the Professional Development Day held on Monday, October 5, 2020.
- Teachers worked collaboratively to determine the most essential standards necessary on which to focus their instruction.
- There continues to be the challenge of balancing student accountability for rigorous learning expectations with the need to slow down the pace and decrease the amount of work.
- Teachers are working to determine the best way to meet the learning goals in the Distance Learning format.
- Training on best practices for Distance learning continues to be provided.
- New methodologies for instructional delivery takes time to implement.
- District leadership will continue to work with the bargaining units on how to effectively schedule appropriate time for preparation, training, and instruction needed for Distance Learning.
Ongoing Assessment and Adjustments
In addition to making adjustments to the 100% Distance Learning model based on the recommendations of this stakeholder engagement process, the district will continue to refine the model as additional needs arise through ongoing feedback provided through both informal and formal assessments.