Navigating a virtual world


			
				                                Staff give out Chromebook covers to parents and students at the Virtual Parent Tech Night.

Staff give out Chromebook covers to parents and students at the Virtual Parent Tech Night.

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Staff show parents and students how to work Google Classroom.

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Staff show parents and students how to work Google Classroom.

<img src="https://s24477.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/125719467_web1_VirtualTechNight3.jpg" alt="

Staff at Sunset Avenue take the time to show parents and students how to work their Chromebook.

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Staff at Sunset Avenue take the time to show parents and students how to work their Chromebook.

Sunset Avenue School recently hosted a Virtual Parent Tech Night for parents and children having problems navigating the Darkhorse Virtual platform.

The event was held from Sept. 14-16, with a night dedicated to each grade level, according to SAS Principal Vanessa Brown.

“The event was very important because we had kids and parents that were having problems navigating our platform,” Brown stated. “Although teachers had gone over the information virtually, some parents and students needed the hands-on approach.”

Brown noted that all remote students were invited to the face-to-face event.

“Students received book bags for their Chromebooks and instructions on how to attend their online classes,” the principal commented. “Students were instructed on how to submit lessons and any other technology or academic concerns.”

Brown felt that the event was very successful.

“We were able to help a lot of students and parents,” Brown stated. “We will have additional events based on the needs of our students and parents.”

According to the SAS principal, concerns came more from third-grade students. She explained that they have not worked with Chromebooks as much as the other grades.

“Remember they have missed half a year’s instruction,” she stressed.

At SAS, there are 346 virtual students; there are 373 virtual students at Sampson Middle School. L. C. Kerr has 71 virtual students and Butler Avenue School has 223 virtual students. Clinton High School has 416 virtual students.

“SAS efforts to help parents navigate through Dark Horse virtual shows their commitment to educating all Dark Horse families, Dr. William T. Vann III, CCS director of special programs, stated. “We do not want our virtual families to feel that they are alone and have to figure out the virtual platform on their own. The most important thing that we can do is listen to the concerns of students and parents. We have made adjustments and improvements based on the feedback that our families have provided.”

According to Vann, most complaints Clinton City Schools (CCS) get concern the online platform Calvert which has been replaced with Google Classroom and multiple sign-ons which has been improved with the Clever Portal.

“I think it’s an excellent way to engage parents in their child’s school experience,” CCS Board of Education Chairperson Dr. Linda Brunson stated, thanking Brown and her staff.

“I applaud all the efforts of our schools and staff to help our parents navigate the unique needs the 2020-21 school year has created,” Superintendent Dr. Wesley Johnson added. “Obviously, this school year is different, and it is more important than ever to connect home and school.”

“Communication has to remain consistent and two-way between the school and home. Both parties need to understand this year has brought an abundance of complexities to the school environment, and we must be flexible to understand the unique needs of each family and school. However, we cannot lose focus of our educational mission to teach all students and help them master the content and curriculum of the North Carolina Standards.”

According to Johnson, CCS has already been in discussion about the possibility of Plan A at their K-5 schools.

Plan A involves bringing all kids back to school without a virtual setting. Surveys have been distributed by LC Kerr, Butler and Sunset to gauge parents’ interest in returning their students to school for face-to-face instruction.

“We are also discussing this with district and state leaders within the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the NC Department of Health and Human Services,” Johnson noted. “Formally, a plan will be taken to our Board of Education on Tuesday night, Sept. 29.”

Brendaly Vega Davis can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2588.

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