Distance Learning in Elementary School
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– Mar 7, 2021(11 replies)
My wife and I have been having a tough time coming up with a plan on how to approach schooling for next year. We have loved our Berkeley elementary school (Sylvia Mendez), but are afraid that full time instruction won't resume next fall.
Do we stick it out? Find a private school? Move to another district? Are these the types of options you are weighing? How did you decide?
Thanks.Mar 7, 2021
– Jan 22, 2021(11 replies)
We need a math and writing tutor for our very bright but very stubborn fourth grader. They are currently attending their small private school via zoom. They have no interest in school and turn in the bare minimum of what is required. This was evident pre pandemic but it's gotten worse. Whenever my partner and I try to intervene we are met with tons of attitude, yelling, and argumentative behavior. We've tried incentives like rewards for completed assignments. We've tried discipline ie taking away screen time, canceling zoom dates with friends. Nothing works. We feel that our child might respond better to someone outside the family.Jan 22, 2021
– Jan 10, 2021(12 replies)
A heartfelt hello to all parents of kids struggling with remote learning. As we head into 2021, I have accepted that, more likely than not, our middle schooler will not see the inside of a classroom this school year. So I am looking forward to a return during the 2021-22 school year. That said, there's already talk that, even with the potential for teachers to get vaccinated by fall 2021, there still may be resistance to returning kids to the classroom, particularly within the Berkeley Unified and the Albany Unified school districts (both are options for us). We are getting pretty much zero news coverage on the road to returning to in-person learning, and what the districts say and what they do don't always match up. So it's hard to know whether what I'm hearing on the street regarding the fall is pure conjecture, or if there's some factual basis to these rumors. Our child simply cannot endure another year of remote learning, so if there's a chance that the fall will be anything less than full-time in the classroom, we need to plan for something different (up to and including just moving). Participating in the re-opening process has proven to be futile, so I'm just looking for some fact-based predictions on what is likely to happen in the fall assuming that teachers and school staff will be able to get vaccinated.
Parent of a sad teen.Jan 10, 2021
– Nov 23, 2020(1 reply)
This pertains to High School, Middle School and Elementary. Are there any private schools who have decided not to pursue in-class instruction during Covid, presumably until there is a vaccine? We are really unhappy with the online option our school is offering now that some kids have returned to in-person instruction, and the public schools don't seem to yet have their act fully together even though they are all online. My impression is that all private schools are doing some hybrid thing right now. I'm wondering if any are sticking to online-only.Nov 23, 2020
– Oct 30, 2020(5 replies)
Could folks please share what these schools are doing, particularly for elementary school kids, in terms of in person learning?
- Are kids back in school?
- Is it hybrid, so families that want/need to can keep up remote learning from home?
- Will the school stay open (for regular school days) through Nov/Dec?
Thanks!Oct 30, 2020
– Oct 28, 2020(2 replies)
Hello parents and caregivers,
We have a child who will be old enough to start Kindergarten in the fall, and we aren't sure how the process is going to work right now amid COVID and schools still operating remotely right now. Does anything have experience with the process (pre-COVID) that they can share some advice? Do you typically reach out to the school individually within your district to express interest and ask for a tour (which we assume will be virtual for now)? We have the applications and were hoping that it would be possible to meet potential teachers that our son could have, as we care less about the overall school/location itself, and more so that he will have a supportive teacher and environment to help him thrive as SIP and distance learning has been such a challenge for the past 7 months. He had just started preschool for a few weeks before SIP happened, and has had a hard time with transitioning to new people, which he never did before. We hope that whichever school he places at can be a steady one to make things more consistent. Any advice would be great! So hard to keep planning for things during this uncertain time!
ThaoOct 28, 2020
– Oct 22, 2020(6 replies)
I’m seeking advice about online learning programs for gifted children. Our son (now in 5th grade) was GATE identified in all three assessment areas. We’re in a great public school, but distance learning has made it very apparent that their “regular class work + extra worksheets” enrichment approach isn’t meeting his needs as we had hoped. He’s starting to rebel against school in general, saying it’s “too boring,” and that he hates having to go the same speed as the rest of the class. There’s not much available support-wise for advanced learners in our school district (and teachers and administrators at our school is stretched very thin right now!), so we’re hoping to find some online options that might better meet his needs - ideally courses aimed at advanced learners that use live instructors. Would also love any advice on folks (counselors, etc.) who might be able to help us navigate the process of finding resources for him, or any other ideas/experiences from other parents who have walked this path. Thanks so much.Oct 22, 2020
– Oct 19, 2020(2 replies)
We're very lucky that we're in a private school with high quality teachers who have managed teaching on zoom decently. We are also a high risk family, and will not be able to put our kids in in-person school now that schools are reopening. Some schools, like ours, are offering a hybrid model that I worry will work very poorly for the kids at home. Other schools, I hear, have surveyed parents and created separate in-person and all-online pods. Is anyone at a school that offers online-only sections for this year? Would you recommend your this?Oct 19, 2020
– Oct 16, 2020(7 replies)
I am beginning to hear that private schools are opening up. Our friends at EBI just began in-person instruction. We would be particularly interested in learning more about how the following schools' in-person instruction is going. We are in OUSD and there's virtually no meaningful learning happening at school. I have no idea if private schools are accepting students right now. The cost is a big concern, but it's heart breaking knowing that my kids are falling behind their friends in private school and cousins in other countries that are managing the pandemic better and have opened schools up many months ago. American public school kids are falling behind and CA public school kids are in trouble. I cannot see how public schools will be able to open up safely until the pandemic is over, whenever that may be. I have been a supporter of public schools and have kept my kids in public school, but I'm not sure anymore when I feel that online public school education is a big waste of time and the only thing my kids are learning is tricks to look like they're paying attention to combat boredom and how to do cool virtual background on zoom... Academically, all of my kids are ahead, so they're not learning new materials either and teachers are not able to provide differentiated learning.
I know very little about the below schools but they are geographically the closest to where we live. Mill College school is almost $10k cheaper than other schools, so it's a very attractive option even though it's far from our house.
- Park Day
- St. Paul
- Mills College Children's SchoolOct 16, 2020
– Oct 7, 2020(3 replies)
My child's teachers told me that her Chromebook wasn't connecting well for online classes. I tested the network connectivity in her room and it seemed to be fine. She's been using my laptop since and that works well. I need my laptop for work and so need to get a replacement for school. Can anyone tell me what characteristics I should look for in a device to preclude this problem?
Oct 7, 2020
– Aug 16, 2020(2 replies)
Hi, Our district (like many in California) is starting school year with distance learning which will likely continue for foreseeable future and then move to hybrid when possible. I'm currently working from home (due to the pandemic) and planning to take some time during the day to help with distance learning and make up hours at night. I figured my work will suffer due to work from home no matter what, so I might as well use the opportunity to invest in my kids' education. My kids (elementary school aged) are pretty independent learners so I want to use my time with them to supplement distance learning (they can do the basic DL work themselves), cover more advanced topics, do hands on learning, and help them advance since our school is not very good at differentiating and my kids could really benefit from this. Anyone knows of resources that will be good for this? I signed up for Beast Academy for math as I heard great things. Anything more for math, or any recommendations for science learning kids or curriculum I can use at home to supplement? Anything good for working on improving reading comprehension besides just reading more books? I'm good at teaching the old-style boring way, but am not very creative unfortunately so looking for resources/tools out there to make it fun and interesting for the kids while they learn. I figured some others are in similar position and hopefully have some resources to recommend. Thanks.Aug 16, 2020
– Aug 12, 2020(3 replies)
Hi everyone- I hope this is the correct forum, the childcare forum seemed to be focused on preschools. I'm approaching completion of my clearance to be a foster parent. I had arranged my home for 2 school age siblings between the ages of 5-13 yrs. Now that schools will be distance learning, and because I'm single and an essential worker, I'm scrambling to figure out if I can still foster or if I will have to wait indefinitely until the schools re-open. What are people that work doing for childcare for these ages? and what does this cost monthly?Aug 12, 2020
– Aug 6, 2020(4 replies)
I have a 5 year old who is supposed to be starting Kindergarten this year. I have decided to send him to another year in preschool instead because I feel he will get very little out of online learning AND both my partner and I work. My initial plan was to enroll him in Kindergarten with BUSD as well and just not really show up until (if!) in-person learning begins. But I was honest about my plan with the district and they said I need to un-enroll him and only re-enroll once he's ready to attend (ie if in-person learning starts up). So I'm planning to do that but wanted to know if any of you are in a similar boat. Does anyone know what the risks of un-enrolling could be? I fear that we won't get the school we want once in-person learning begins or there will be a different hurdle that I'm not even considering now. I do know that if he misses all of K, he'll have to start next year in 1st grade, which would not be ideal but I think I'm willing to go that route if the full year is online. Open to any thoughts, advice, or personal experiences.
AmandaAug 6, 2020
– Jun 8, 2020(1 reply)
With the state wide budget cut, we are reluctantly looking at private school options. How has MCCS has been with the pandemic response and remote learning? MCCS is attractive to us because I understand that they have a large outdoor space which can help with learning during the pandemic.Jun 8, 2020
– May 28, 2020(5 replies)
Due to a variety of reasons I won't get into here, I have lost all faith in BUSD being able to provide any manageable school solution for my elementary school kids. There are some spectacular teachers doing a good job, but I've learned that when we don't get one of those, it's a total mess. As a result, I'm trying to find a sustainable solution for our family for the next academic year. I am willing to consider a range of options from private school to supplemental online instruction or tutoring to some sort of paid, in-person small group day camps that meet the COVID requirements to any other ideas out there.
My primary goals are to keep my kids occupied and engaged in something - anything - during the school year so that my spouse and I can work during the day. We are not looking to fill 8 hrs per day -- our kids are pretty independent and can keep themselves occupied. Rather we are looking for 1-3 hrs per day to provide some sort of structure to the endless days at home. Right now we're either dealing with crying and giving up on school work because there is no instruction, or we are peppered with questions all day long because there is no teacher available to ask for help. I don't care if my kids "fall behind" in the traditional subjects as long as they're occupied with something interesting and somewhat educational that doesn't cause continuous strife in my house.
What is working is the project based "independent" experimentation type stuff. For example, my kids built a marble run out of cardboard & are expanding it into a very basic Rube Goldberg machine with dominos - this has consumed many many hours over a couple of weeks. My kids have also taken very engaging online lessons with outside organizations that they enjoy and where actual instruction happens and where they get feedback on their efforts. In an ideal world, we would find one organization / school / person / etc. who would put together these types of opportunities that are functional for working parents and provide regular daily engagement, teaching and feedback for our kids either in-person or on a videoconference. This could be a support for what BUSD sends out (and we would keep our kids enrolled), or it could be completely independent (and we would pull our kids out). Any recommendations?May 28, 2020
– May 23, 2020(3 replies)
I know most (especially public) elementary schools aren't able to say what the school year will look like this upcoming year, but I was wondering if some of the private schools in the oakland/berkeley area have started to finalize plans? The public schools are likely going to be hybrid this upcoming year, but didn't know if some of the private schools were going to be able to offer more on-site learning because of the inherent reduced teacher-student ratio. If anyone has any insight, please let me know? (and, if able, what school?). Thank-you!!May 23, 2020
– May 13, 2020(4 replies)
My child will be heading to Emerson in the Fall, and there is so much uncertainty going on right now, and I am planning for the many eventualities. One of the most trying would be to do several months of remote Kinder. And, my heart goes out to those of you that just had to do that, have a job while helping your child extensively with the new distance learning. My question is, how was distance learning for Kinder at Emerson? How many hours a day of work did you and your child have? My friends in other districts report 3 to 5 hours a day spent in Kinder education, including navigating the computer. That seems like a lot. Also, answers from other schools in BUSD for Kindergarten would be helpful too, to get an idea of how many hours to expect.May 13, 2020
– May 12, 2020(4 replies)
Before the pandemic hit us, we had already planned on switching our first grade son from a private school to BUSD. He was assigned to Rosa Parks and he's on the waitlist at Jefferson. I have heard not great reports about the distance learning at Thousand Oaks, so I started to wonder if Rosa Parks and Jefferson are doing a better job (in case this continues next fall). Can people let me know their experiences at either of those schools (in particular, second grade)?
Thanks in advance.May 12, 2020
– Apr 30, 2020(9 replies)
We are in OUSD, and understand that both our district and BUSD are really struggling with the online transition. Some (but not all) private schools are doing a lot better, it seems. Are any public school districts managing the transition to online learning well? Piedmont? Albany? Orinda? Or specific schools or teachers within OUSD/BUSD?
It looks like we'll be in a different world, at least for one more academic year, and perhaps for longer, so any and all information would be very useful.Apr 30, 2020
– Apr 22, 2020(5 replies)
I am very unhappy with my son's response to "distance learning" and do not feel it is age appropriate. I am thinking of withdrawing him from school, and homeschooling him for the rest of the year. Does anyone know what the law is regarding withdrawing a child at this point in the school year? My son attends a private school. Any advice is appreciated!Apr 22, 2020
– Apr 3, 2020(14 replies)
As online instruction is new to most of us, I wonder what your school is offering. Our daughter goes to a private K-8 school, Ecole Bilingue, and is in K. She gets 2 30-minute zoom sessions with her whole K class daily, plus another 2 20-minute zoom sessions with fewer kids weekly, for a total of just under 6 hours of zoom time per week. She also gets a lot of assignments. Our local Oakland public school offers 1 30-minute zoom session daily, for a total of 2.5 hours of zoom per week.
For us, more zoom time and fewer assignments would be very valuable. Assignments take up parent time; zoom frees it up. And we're very short on parent time. The assignments are pedagogically useful, to some extent, but there's also some value to zoom time, I think. This is especially because we're paying Ecole Bilingue tuition so that our daughter learns a foreign language that we don't speak at home.
What have your experiences been? Is your school offering too much or too little? (I have heard through the grapevine that some schools have tried zoom all day and found it exhausting for the students, but don't know if this is true). Any and all advice welcome as we navigate this new worldApr 3, 2020
– Mar 29, 2020(14 replies)
I am curious if any of the bay area private schools currently shuttered due to the Covid-19 Shelter in Place order will be making any attempts to lower tuition now that the closure will definitely go into May -- and possibly longer. Or, if they are trying to make up some lost time in the summer. Would you be willing to share (anonymously) for the sake of other private school parents trying to navigate this? I'll start. My child is enrolled in The Renaissance International School. Thus far we've received some letters from the administration about an attempt to "lower costs," but the latest seems to be that tuition will remain the same so the teachers will be retained and the school will be able to reopen. They are willing to do different payment schedules on a case by case basis. Nothing has been said about making up time in the summer, though that would be complicated for our school anyway since it already has a summer program that not all students opt into. Anyway, I'd love to hear what other people's experiences have been at their schools, just to share information. I certainly don't have an opinion on what *should* be done -- it's a terrible situation all around! None of this was the fault of private schools, and of course they want to retain their staff. However so many parents are dealing with sudden job loss/income reduction, also through no fault of their own, while having their kids home all day and being in charge of their education. My child isn't really at an age where distance learning is possible without all day participation by a parent, even if the staff are doing their best to provide lessons. What else can I say? I'm sure fellow parents reading this are all having the same issues! Hope we can discuss.Mar 29, 2020
– Mar 20, 2020(2 replies)
BPN community - can you tell me a little bit about the distance learning that your child’s school is offering for kindergarteners? What does it look like? Am thinking about our child’s school and am trying to get a sense of what’s normal/best practices in this area. Would also be helpful to know if your child’s school is independent or public. Thank you!!Mar 20, 2020
– Mar 14, 2020(1 reply)
Does anyone know of a school that offers a blended learning model? I'm looking for a program that offers a combination of independent study or online/distance learning classes along with on-site classes for elementary age children?
I found a great program in Southern California that's offered by the Tustin School District (https://www.tustinconnect.org/k-8.html) where children go to school on-site once or twice a week and study from home the rest of the week. However, it's too far away. I'm not finding any similar program or schools here in the Bay Area. If you have any leads or resources, I'd appreciate it. I'm open to similar schools in the East Bay and San Mateo County or Santa Clara County.
Thanks.Mar 14, 2020