Arizona Public Schools Face Distance Learning Gap This Fall

By Holliday Moore
Published: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 10:16am

Most Arizona traditional public schools are officially on summer break beginning this week.

In review, Christine Thompson with education watchdog group Expect More Arizona summed up the fourth quarter of distance learning as not ideal, but said educators did the best they could under the circumstances.

“They were asked to turn around their teaching methods on dime,” she said. And while nothing is perfect, “If this would have happened at the beginning of a school year, it might have even been more challenging.”

As it was, Thompson said schools were able to provide food and distance learning tools for tens of thousands of students in at-risk communities.

“Devices were given out to students, hot spots were given out to students,” and in poorer communities, some schools placed buses in neighborhoods, “so every day kids could come and check for email and be able to connect with schools,” Thompson explained.

With a wide array of family dynamics and support, she predicted when students return, schools will have a wide learning gap to close.

Some districts are discussing teaching material lost to distancing learning during the fourth quarter in the fall.

If students are expected to return to campuses, she said, districts will have to rethink class sizes and sanitation levels before school resumes.

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