DALLAS and FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Both Dallas and Fort Worth schools will launch the new academic year with online learning only on Tuesday.
Months of preparation comes down to a final rush to get ready, including teacher training to deliver more robust online instruction.
“How to deliver science online? How do you do second language learning online? How do you do some of these great technical instructional things online?” explains Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “And so that’s what we’re working on right now. So that it will be much better by the time we start next Tuesday.”
In order to access great content, students must first be able to connect.
So both school districts have been working to secure and supply students with devices, including hotspots for those who lack internet access at home.
“For most of our students, they will have their own device,” says Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner. “For the younger students, we’re insuring there’s a device in each household. And we’re gonna spend the better part of the weekend and ramping up to Monday to insure that that’s the case.”
Once online, Superintendent Scribner also warns that students must also make emotional connections with new teachers this fall, in a new way.
“This year, teachers and students will be meeting for the first time on computer screen,” says Scribner. “So we really want to encourage our teachers, encourage our families and students to understand the importance of engagement and connections.”
Both Fort Worth and Dallas school leaders are asking parents over the next few days to test devices, try passwords and start encouraging students to be ready to learn.
“Because we’re behind,” warns Hinojosa. “We haven’t seen our students since March, and we got to start getting caught up. So the expectations are going to be high. Even online. We’re going to have some significant expectations that we get caught up academically.”
School leaders in both districts are asking parents to respond quickly to surveys asking how many students plan to return to in-person instruction so they can begin to plan beyond the online launch.