Student Access during eLearning – Broadband Access Required

As a school leader, a significant concern with eLearning is the inherent inequities in the delivery model. As educators, during traditional school days, we know that every student’s home life is different. When students enter the schoolhouse door, their personal lives shape how they perform in school.

During remote learning, theWifi speed of internet access is a significant concern. Ohio, and the United States, struggle with providing broadband access to every home. Many believe, like me, that the Internet is a required public utility. Like electricity and water, I think every family should have access to connectivity. With access, remote learning can take place.

As we consider infrastructure legislation and future spending, we should make sure access to the Internet is available to every home, to every family. In times of crisis, we identify strength and opportunity. This crisis provides an opportunity for us to better society – to level the playing field for today and future students.

Parent Partnership and Communications are Key

The current COVID-19 crisis has changed our lives in countless ways. The shift to eLearning as part of our Stay at Home directive requires a different partnership between students, parents, and teachers. This partnership is only effective when the lines of communication are open.

Our talented teachers skillfully differentiate instruction in classrooms every day. When eLearning Pic 1face-to-face teachers adjust assignments, balance rigor with support, and implement individual interventions in real-time. With eLearning, or remote learning, teachers are developing lessons for an entire class without synchronous adjustments in the classroom.

Some students fly through the assignments; in these cases, parents are requesting additional tasks and extension activities. Other students are struggling to complete the work that is assigned. Parents are coming home from essential jobs, engaging with online lessons, and frustrated with the volume of work.

Our journey through eLearning is just beginning; we will get better together. The most critical factor of improvement is communication. If your child needs more work – please email your teacher. If a student is overwhelmed – please email your teacher. The differentiation which takes place in traditional classrooms will still take place, but with time, communication, and grace. We work together; we partner to keep the learning going.

It’s Our Time

My grandfather is 98 years old.

William Lauter is a WWII Naval Veteran. He served on the USS Ray, a Gato-class attack submarine, in the Pacific Theater. My grandfather, like many of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, is part of what Tom Brokaw deemed “the Greatest Generation.”

IMG_0925The Greatest Generation defeated the Axis powers, built an economic superpower, and ended global isolationism. The men and women of the Greatest Generation sacrificed when necessary and dreamed of the world we have today.

Today, Grandpa lives on Long Island, not far from Levittown, the birthplace of suburban housing developments. Growing up on Long Island, my grandparent’s home was where we had Sunday dinners. Grandpa’s work ethic and approach to life shaped who I am today. His faith, patriotism, and commitment to the family were evident in all aspects of his life. More recently, as an adult, hearing him recount his life before and after the war added a narrative to history. Life wasn’t easy, but life had a purpose.

It is our time to defeat a generational challenge. We aren’t facing warring nations or an evil dictator; we are facing a global virus. Just like our grandparents and great-grandparents, we must come together to win this war. As a country, we must marshal our inner angles to create a better future. We will act with discipline, selfless behavior, and a commitment to the greater good.

Innovation and creativity are born in times of crisis. We will stand-strong as Ohioans to curb the spread of this virus. Our economy will, in time, recover. Our education system will continue to prepare students for the future. We will be inconvenienced; any self-sacrifice demands a level of sacrifice. Saving lives, flattening the spread of this virus, will not be quick or easy. Our generation must do what’s required of us.

I can’t help but ask the question, “what will our grandchildren and great-grandchildren think of us as a result of this crisis?” This is our time to rise-up; this is our generation’s challenge. While there will never be another “Greatest Generation,” this is our time to come together.  Our response to this crisis will be our legacy.

Scripture says, “joy cometh in the morning.” The sun will rise; joy will be part of our lives. I pray for strength and wisdom in the face of challenges and crises. Regardless of faith, have hope and confidence that we will defeat this enemy and set an example for future generations.