Teachers prep digital classrooms ahead of first day of school

Sep 4, 2020

Teachers and administrators across the Wareham school system are hard at work to launch the school year with a set of virtual tools that are flexible enough to be useful for remote, hybrid, and in-person learning and easy for kids and parents to use. 

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Andrea Schwamb presented an update on the work being done to create what she described as “an all-inclusive tool that we can use wherever we are to help kids learn.”

The site, called Wareham Public Schools “Uninterrupted,” provides a gateway to the individual school and classroom pages and also provides numerous other resources for kids and parents, including a caregiver’s guide to distance learning, student and parent guides to Google classrooms, coronavirus safety tips, and kid-friendly resources to learn about racism.

Each classroom, no matter which grade, will have a somewhat standardized format to make it easy for students and their guardians to navigate through the online learning process. Schwamb said that in the spring, students sometimes had a hard time remembering how to access online resources, which led to frustration for both the students and their guardians.

She also emphasized that these online spaces are all secure, meaning that no one can get into the Google classrooms without a direct invitation from the schools. 

The teachers are also working to make their online spaces fun and welcoming for students, with some even creating digital portraits of themselves and their classrooms.

“The level of creativity and thought you can see in everything they’re choosing to do, it seems pretty incredible to me,” Schwamb said. “Everybody’s helping each other… The amount of collaboration is phenomenal.”

Students will be picking up chromebooks from the schools over the next week, ahead of the first day of school on September 16.

The school year will start entirely remotely, with a hybrid schedule in which students would go to school for two four-hour days each week tentatively set to start on October 5. That date is subject to change based on where various public health markers are. 

Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood also announced that the free breakfast and lunch distribution that the schools have been doing since the initial shutdown in March is set to continue throughout the school year. When students return part-time, they will be sent home with food, although the exact logistics are still in the works.