Grade 7 Teacher Corey Hunter at Westpark Middle School pictured here with a screen in the background showing some of the students learning online. (Contributed photo)

Grade 7 Teacher Corey Hunter at Westpark Middle School pictured here with a screen in the background showing some of the students learning online. (Contributed photo)

High virtual attendance in first week of temporary online learning at Red Deer Public Schools

As students in Grades 7-12 across the province moved to temporary online learning last week, daily attendance has averaged 93per cent in both Red Deer Public high schools.

“It’s been among our highest attendance of the year,” said Chris Good, principal at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. “We’re hearing really positive feedback from both students, staff and parents.”

This shift to at-home learning is much different than the one this past spring. Teaching and learning has continued as normally as possible with students following their regular timetables, attendance being taken in every class and schools being open by appointment for students who would like to access additional resources, further assistance from teachers or students in options courses.

“It’s rigorous. Classes start and end at the same time,” said Ryan Kure, vice principal at Hunting Hills High School. “In the spring I was a teacher and we were thrown into it (at-home learning). This time we planned – teachers prepared for this scenario.”

He added, although teachers would prefer to have students in the classroom, things are going well.

“Our teachers are doing really, really well. Most have two or three monitors going and you walk into every classroom and it’s as if there’s 30 kids in front of them the way they are teaching.” said Kure. “We’ve put a little bit of flex time at the end of the period, so if students have questions or need extra help, there is about a 15 minute window prior to their next class starting, and a lot of students are taking advantage of sticking around.”

Teresa Tataryn, principal at Westpark Middle School, said the feedback from parents regarding temporary online learning has been tremendously positive. “They like the rigor of the classes. We have also kept our attendance line open, so if students are not online for their class, parents are kept informed, and they really appreciate that.”

Students and staff will begin Christmas break on Dec. 18 and all students will return to temporary online learning January 4-8.

Students will be back in the classroom on January 11.

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