Distance learning programs,
student meals being provided
By Mike Harris
Following the initial announcement on March 13 that Rim of the World Unified School District would be closing schools until March 23, the district announced on March 18 that schools would remain closed through May 3.
This extension of school closure is subject to further extension should directives change from any federal, state or county agencies, the district said.
To continue an education program for its students, the district said it would be using its distance learning program so students can continue to learn and study from home.
Concerned that students should still be receiving nutrition, the district also said it would be distributing grab-and-go food packets on Wednesdays at each elementary school (Lake Arrowhead Elementary, Charles Hoffman Elementary and Valley of Enchantment Elementary) for all students, K-12.
“We did 3,620-plus meals on Wednesday, March 18, and we’re planning on providing more than 9,000 meals on March 25,” Michelle Murphy, Rim superintendent, told The Alpine Mountaineer earlier this week.
Because it decided to close schools until at least May 3, the district said it had no other choice than to use its distance learning program to maintain some level of educational instruction for its students.
“We recognize that there is no replacement for the instruction teachers provide in person everyday and distance learning is going to look different from what we all are used to,” the district said in a letter sent out to parents and guardians. “District team members are working hard to create a long-term plan. Our desire is to provide supplemental learning experiences and enrichment suggestions that are flexible and customizable to meet the needs of our diverse community.”
Murphy said using the distance learning program was the best choice since Rim currently could not provide online classroom learning for its students.
“We can’t use the Chrome books we have in the classrooms, and we can’t provide WiFi access to our students,” she said. “We are not insured to loan out computers and we can’t provide (Internet) access to students who may not have (WiFi) at home.”
With the distance learning program, parents, guardians and students are being provided with a Google Classroom or other virtual assignments that may be shared by the student’s teacher, a recommended daily schedule for consistency and normalcy, a learning log to record daily educational activities, a list of suggested learning activities by grade level. A list of online resources, and free books and learning materials will be available during meal distribution.
Murphy said the district team members are working hard to create a long-term educational plan.
“We are really trying to connect with parents on what they need,” she said.
It is the district’s goal to provide supplemental learning experiences and enrichment suggestions that are flexible and customizable to meet the needs of our diverse community.
If parents are not getting district emails, parents and students should go to the district’s website and update their contact information including telephone numbers.
According to Todd Beal, Rim’s associate superintendent, personnel and pupil services, many parents have said they are glad that the district is providing educational activities for their children.
“We had about 50 parents show up on Monday to collect instructional materials,” he added. “They can also access the learning materials online through the district’s webpage. We’ve received a few responses that some parents would like to have a more traditional form of education. However, these are unprecedented times which prevents districts from operating as normal.
“We are having to be flexible and creative in the ways we provide education,” he said. “Our teachers and site administrators have been amazing in finding ways to keep educating our students.”
If parents need help with educating their children, Beal said they can reach out to their teachers for assistance.
“We’ve had many teachers already contact their students through various mediums such as email, Class Dojo or Google Classroom,” he added.
The district is working closely with Rim’s union representatives, and the state is providing districts in California with funding. Murphy said the situation for school districts in the county remains fluid.
“We have to wait and see what government does,” she said.