More than 70% of Philadelphia School District students are now logging on to online classes during the coronavirus pandemic closures. Superintendent William Hite said that’s up from 57% in the first two weeks of May.
“Every week, it's going up,” he said of student engagement. “But one of the things that we had to figure out was making sure that everyone was using the same approach to counting children that were participating.”
Hite said more teachers have been trained in the various ways to register student attendance, whether through Google Classroom logins, phone calls, texts — even pictures of schoolwork.
That’s quantity. As for the quality, one of the student representatives on the school board, Abraham Lincoln High School senior Doha Ibrahim, said students she spoke with weren’t impressed with the online lessons.
“They feel that the work they are receiving is not challenging at all,” she said. “Instead, students on our call defined it as busywork, and I can testify to that as well.”
Hite has said the district’s goal for its remote learning is to limit students’ regression.
Looking ahead, the district is still considering what the school year will look like in the fall due to the coronavirus. School officials are discussing a full return to school buildings, a completely online opening, or some hybrid of the two.