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Schools prepare for start of new year

Schools in Boulder City are finalizing their distance learning plans and preparing their students and parents for online instruction as they get ready for the new year.

The first day of school is Aug. 24, and Clark County School District recently approved starting the 2020-2021 school year completely online, meaning students will attend school on a computer rather than going to a physical classroom.

“What happened in the spring was not distance learning,” said Boulder City High School Principal Amy Wagner. “That was pandemic teaching 2020. That was crisis teaching. We were just trying to survive. … I don’t want students to just survive distance education. I want them to thrive.”

On Aug. 6, Wagner released the high school’s learning plan. Students will attend online classes from 8 a.m to 2:05 p.m. Monday through Friday. One day will allow for student and parent interaction with teachers.

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, there will be 50-minute class periods with 25 minutes of live teaching and then 25 minutes of independent learning, class assignments, work within small groups or questions for the teachers. There will also be a lunch period and a wellness check so that teachers can check in with students.

Between each class, there will be a five minute break.

“All the lessons will be recorded and can be watched again, if needed,” Wagner said.

They can be watched at a later time if students can’t watch them live because they are sharing computers with other family members or if they need to see the lesson again.

Time for questions

On Wednesdays, class periods will be held, but the teachers will not present any new material. They will be available for students and their parents to ask questions and get more help if they need it. Each student will also be assigned a teacher as an advisor who will coach them and help them through school. There will be time set aside on Wednesdays to meet with them one-on-one and in small groups.

“This will provide a relationship for teachers with their kids. … I’m excited to see what these Wednesdays will look like,” Wagner said. “It’s a full day of intervention.”

Another element of distance learning is the technology needed for students to access the classes.

Mitchell and King elementary schools distributed Google Chromebooks to their students Aug. 6.

“Right now, the plan is for students to be learning from home on a daily basis, which will consist of a combination of live, online instruction along with students completing work independently,” said Mitchell Principal Benjamin Day. “Teachers will have direct communication with every student on a daily basis. If there is any chance we can have students attend school in person, even if it’s just a couple of times per week, we will let the community know that as soon as possible.”

King Principal Jason Schrock said the schools partnered so that the elementary school families could get the materials at the same time. He also said the distance learning would be different than what happened in the spring.

Chromebook distribution

Garrett Junior High School and BCHS are handing out Google Chromebooks next week.

Garrett Principal Melanie Teemant said they will be given out to eighth graders from 7-11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 10, to seventh graders from 7-11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, and to sixth graders from 7-11 a.m.Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Additionally, she said the administration is finalizing the school’s distance learning plan and it will be ready soon.

“Due to the fact the district changed middle school and junior high schools to a four-block schedule, we are still working on it,” she said. “We will be sharing that with parents as soon as possible and after the district has approved it. It is all new to us, but we are working hard on it and will have it ready in plenty of time.”

Garrett is a one-to-one school for technology and had Google Chromebooks for each student to have their own.

Wagner said the high school has approximately 300 Google Chromebooks for its almost 700 students, and staff surveyed the parents to find out which ones needed them most and which families could share. She said the school district is providing the school another 350 Chromebooks sometime in the future.

“I don’t have enough to give one to every student next week, but if you need one come and we’ll figure it out,” she said.

Ninth-grade students can pick up their items Monday, Aug. 10, 10th grade students on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and 11th and 12th grade students on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The times correspond with the students’ last name. For the specific times, contact the school at 702-799-8200 or go to the school’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/bouldercityhs. Makeup days are Thursday, Aug. 13, and Friday, Aug. 14.

The school district will continue to provide meals to students through Aug. 21. The food distribution site in Boulder City is Mitchell Elementary School, 900 Avenue B. Food is available fro 7-10 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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