Despite circumstances, Brevard online learning progressing smoothly
The end of the 2019-2020 school year obviously hasn’t gone as anyone would have wanted it to, but those connected with Brevard Public Schools appear to be making the best of a difficult situation.
According to Brevard Public Schools assistant superintendent Matt Reed, more than 60,000 students are logging online county-wide each day, which he called “pretty close” to normal attendance.
The schools also have been able to lend 15,000 devices to students, who otherwise would not have been able to complete their schoolwork.
“One thing that we’ve noticed is that at least one-third of all of our students are logging on to learn after 4 o’clock in the afternoon and learning all the way up until 9 o’clock in the evening,” Reed said.
Viera-Suntree area principals indicated that while there has been a transitional period and some difficulties have emerged, overall things have gone relatively smoothly for students.
“Online learning has brought some challenges, but I am so proud of the way our staff has stepped up to these challenges and found solutions collaboratively,” Viera High School Principal Sarah Robinson said in an e-mail to the Viera Voice. “One challenge is ensuring that we are connecting with all students and that all students are making progress.
“In the classroom, it is easy to see if a student isn’t engaging,” Robinson added. “Online, this is more challenging to see and to ensure that we are reaching all students. Our teachers have embraced new technologies to ensure that they are connecting with all students and engaging our students in a meaningful way.”
Quest Elementary School Principal Christine Boyd added via e-mail that “students and teachers are adapting well to this new challenge of online learning,” though she also indicated that there was something of a learning curve for all involved.
“The biggest challenge, for every stakeholder, was getting to know and learn the technology and programs to support the Instructional Continuity Plan process,” Boyd said. “This led to online meetings and training for teachers, then trickling down from teachers and our (information technology support) to supporting our students and families at home.”
Students have obviously had to deal with a dramatic transition from normal schooling, though Jordan Spira, a senior at Viera High School, noted there have been positive aspects to online learning as she prepares to go to college.
“It gives me my time back by not having to sit in class for hours without actually accomplishing any work,” Spira said in an e-mail to the Viera Voice. “My daily schedule has become extremely flexible and virtual learning has really allowed me to format my academics around my other goals in life and has given me much more time to work on my goals un-associated with Viera High, like figuring out logistics for college (I will attend UF in the fall, hopefully in person!) and getting to know all kinds of new friends who will, too, soon be living in Gainesville.”
As Manatee Elementary School Principal Shannon Daly alluded to, it hasn’t just been a transition for students and teachers.
"I think the biggest challenges were our parents learning our platforms, our kids, especially our intermediate students are used to learning in the classroom,” said Daly, who added that online learning has gone “amazingly well” at the school.
Brevard Public Schools has set two potential backup graduation dates of June 22 or July 20.