June 29, 2020 -Northwest Local School District (NWLSD) parents and families will be able to choose to send their children back to in-person classrooms or to continue online learning from home during the upcoming school year. NWLSD has asked parents to fill out a survey to provide feedback about which option they are planning on taking in the fall. So far, 57% of NWLSD families who have responded are opting for in-person learning. The rest of the respondents remain undecided or would prefer to start the year continuing with remote learning for a variety of reasons
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“We are regularly seeking feedback and input from various stakeholder groups to help guide their planning and decision making,” said Todd Bowling, NWLSD Superintendent. “Plans for the 2020-21 school year are being based on the information that the district has right now but could change based on new requirements and guidance from the health department and other state officials.” There are still many unknowns and circumstances are likely to change between now and when school resumes in August/September. NWLSD is working closely with the Hamilton County Health Department to come up with new safety procedures for students who do return to buildings in the fall.
The district is prepared to shift completely to an online learning environment for the next school year if another region or state-wide shutdown goes into effect. “We are proud of the way that our teachers and students pivoted with very little warning from face-to-face brick and mortar teaching and learning to remote teaching and learning in the spring,” said Brenda Miller, NWLSD Director of Curriculum and Instruction. “We are committed to rising to that challenge again if necessary and doing it even more effectively given time to plan and prepare. The feedback provided by our parents, teachers, and students around our initial efforts at remote teaching and learning will guide us as we strive to refine and improve upon our practices.”NWLSD initially considered a blended model for returning to school that included a combination of face-to-face and remote learning. Ultimately, it ran into logistical barriers that were financially impossible and inconsistent with the needs of the community as indicated by an initial survey. Many families cited the need to get back to work and the struggles that their children and family had with learning remotely. Remote learning can certainly be challenging for students who may not have developed the skills to be effective independent learners or who lack the motivation to do so. Traditional brick and mortar institutions provide students with a community where they can engage, interact, and support each other. In face-to-face classes, students have their classmates, teachers and intervention staff more readily available to support and help them with their various learning needs.