Philly School District begins ‘chaotic’ online instruction, while some students still await Chromebooks

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — School District of Philadelphia schools are closed for the rest of the year, but Monday was the first official day of online instruction — a first for both teachers and students.

The first day of teaching in a virtual classroom proved to be a learning experience for Woodrow Wilson Middle School math teacher Chelsey Cashman. To start, her digital classrooms were less than half full.

“I want to say roughly a third of my kids on Google Classroom reached out to me saying they're here, they're doing the work,” she said. “Day 1 was honestly a little bit chaotic, but it's a learning curve, so we’re going through it together.”

Cashman plans to call or email the students she didn’t hear from to make sure they have their Chromebooks and are up to speed. 

So many parents tried to pick-up Chromebooks for their kids on Monday that the district actually had to cut off the line three hours early. 

Meanwhile, Cashman posted her review assignments on Google Classroom and watched in real time as her students’ answers appeared. Soon, she expects her 99 seventh-graders will be able to see and talk with her.

“We are starting to learn about Google Meet and Google Hangouts, so I think I'm going to dip my feet into that later in the week. That's when I get to have audio and video with them,” she said.

Some of Cashman’s students may thrive in a virtual environment, but for the ones who struggle, she said she will make an extra effort to reach out to them.

Chromebook distribution will resume Tuesday at both district headquarters and Fitzpatrick Elementary, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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