Dedicated Virtual Learning Services For Our Remote Kids

Dedicated Virtual Learning Services For Our Remote Kids

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Dania Anderson started this petition to Weston CT District Families

Please join us by signing the following petition to be presented to the BOE ahead of the October 8th meeting planned to determine the expansion of the Hybrid Model to full day. We are aware that there is a petition in circulation developed by parents of Hybrid students that includes the request for Dedicated Virtual Classrooms.

We feel compelled to make sure that the BOE receive specific communication from VDL parents on the VDL topic itself.

Our Key Asks:

1.     Dedicated Virtual Classes to support our VDL children’s needs.

2.     Real discussion regarding the use of Team Leads to support mini-lesson   opportunities.

3.     Detailed clarification on how VDL will be supported in conjunction with the increase in school hours.

4.     A meeting with the BOE and WPS Leadership to allow for Public Comment regarding VDL specifically and not just a blanket “No” with vague references to “Improving VDL”.

Certainly, teachers are doing the best that they can under unprecedented circumstances. However, the administration continues to treat VDL kids like an afterthought.

We understand that there are other CT school districts that have Dedicated Distance Learning classes such as: Westport, Fairfield, Trumbull, Stamford and Greenwich. These are the towns that we are aware of and are close by.

Why are they able to do this and we are not?

We have sent many letters as a group and individually requesting a more robust Virtual Learning Program. WPS Leadership always responds with a “no”, but without real facts to back up their reasoning.  

Some of the many issues:

  •  Live Streaming into the classroom is putting our children at an emotional disadvantage. The present and future, ramifications for a child who is looking into the classroom as an outsider has been completely ignored.
  • VDL children are being labeled as outsiders through no fault of his/her own. They are spread out through different classrooms where they are put in a minority situation that reminds them constantly that they are not fully a part of the classroom. 
  • Our children are displayed and blown up on the white board for their whole class to view. This can make some children feel self-conscious which is unfair to our children. Especially, if a child is reprimanded and they are on such a view for the class to watch.
  • VDL children are already feeling left out when they see the other children at school. We have not seen any creative planning to make that difference less glaring. There has been no consistent direction across classrooms to find ways to integrate rather than isolate.
  • There has been no communication regarding social/emotional activity building to support the integration of VDL kids into the classroom.
  • Inconsistency regarding: use of technology, missed classes due to tech and timely digital communication from teachers on assignments already submitted.

Dedicated Virtual Educators will be able to:

  • focus on our kids needs and not split their time.
  • not put our kids on mute, so they can ask their questions in real time.
  • be creative within the Virtual Learning modality and bring in the best tools.

Our students will:

  • no longer just be observers in the classroom (often reminded that they are distracting the In-School kids with the slightest misstep).
  • have an equal opportunity to the education that In School kids are being offered.
  • have a chance to actively communicate with their peers outside of a morning icebreaker.

Remote Education is a skill for which not all educators have been trained. We know that there are many Weston educators who would be happy to form a dedicated department to support the growing need. This would also be important as quarantines will require students to be home for random periods of time.

We need to be way more prepared!

We understand that not every VDL child is having the same experience depending on their teacher’s comfort level, but the requests of this petition are meant to remind The BOE that creating a cutting-edge remote program is the future. Remote Learning is not new and can be extremely successful.

Weston Schools should not be left behind as other districts grow this opportunity!

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