They have their Chromebooks, but are Philly students logging in and learning?

By KYW Newsradio 1060

UPDATED: 1 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is new and nothing is normal for Philadelphia students logging into classes with their loaner Chromebooks. 

Philadelphia teachers have been taking online attendance and grading assignments for a week and a half now. Are kids logging on and learning?  

Superintendent William Hite hasn't said what percentage of students has been actively taking part in those virtual classes. During a Thursday morning conference call with reporters, he hinted that older students appear to be accessing classes at a higher rate.

"I would say that our full participation rate is probably right kind of where the district is. I would say it's in the mid-50s, where students are doing everything that's asked of them. But we're above 90% at just making sure we have some kind of contact every week,” Andrewlevich said. 

They have their Chromebooks, but are Philly students logging in and learning?

She tells parents to make sure kids' basic needs are addressed and to find their daily joy, and that educators will adjust their child's lessons as needed when classes return to normal.

"We're looking at the human lens of it first. And then for those who have the capacity to support the actual instruction, we are on it,” she said. 

She says teachers make sure to celebrate students' birthdays and send along funny videos to maintain a human connection.

"What we see families are missing most is just the laughter in the hallways. The greetings in the morning. So we're trying to replicate that as much as we can online,” she explained. 

Andrewlevich says the experience of distance learning should only make the connection between school and home stronger in the future.

The superintendent says he plans to present full participation figures to the school board first, at the board's meeting on Thursday night.