NORTH BEND, Wash. - The first day of a very unusual academic year arrived for some families in Washington, whether they were fully ready for it, or not. One of the state's largest districts, in terms of geography, got back in action, Monday, with remote classes.
Students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, along the foothills of the Cascades, logged on bright and early to start the new year. Many more districts are getting ready for the green light later this week.
The walk to school for Tyce and Ayden Colin is a lot shorter. Their mother, however, is certainly getting her steps in.
“I find myself walking from one room to other to the other to the other. Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! All you hear is mommy!” laughed Michelle Colin, mother of two young boys.
Monday was the first day of the new school year at North Bend Elementary. Her second and fifth graders are learning from home.
“She helps me with my math problems,” said 7-year-old Ayden.
“I have been nervous all weekend long about the first day because you do have glitches with technology and getting online and getting the right class and making sure the assignments are uploaded,” said Colin.
Schools provided set schedules for specific subjects and breaks to help families coordinate each day. Father, Paul Colin, said the schedule is helpful since Tyce, who has Autism, depends on the routine.
“Just being able to say to him first we’re going to do reading, next we’re going to do math. He able to kind of process it in his mind and be comfortable knowing what comes next because all the time he’s think when am I going to get to my iPad. So, at least when we give him those actionable steps he can understand that he’s moving towards it,” said Colin.
“I like recess because I can knock on my friend’s door and we can sometimes play,” said 10-year-old Tyce.
The district made sure schools provided detailed information to help parents through remote learning. The family said the documents helped them prepare all summer for remote learning. They highly suggest parents take time to read the documents.
“Use your teachers as a resource. They’re there, they’re available to help. This is new for them too, but they have been very open to giving as much support as needed and that’s been a huge one for us,” said Paul. “The community has really come together to help each other and to look out for each other whether it’s been technical things with the computer or just figuring out where to go to get certain resources. It’s just been great and having that around has made it a lot easier for us.”
“The community here is so tight, that if we can’t get online for some reason, we just text each other— try this, try that,” said Michelle.
District officials said they received a wide variety of feedback, Monday, but for the most part, things were smooth for the first day of school. They said there were some technology hiccups as expected.
During the first two weeks of school, the district is going to ease into remote learning. This will give officials time to fix any issues in the system, have detailed conversations with teachers and principals and receive input from parents.