CINCINNATI — Monday kicks off the final week of classes for students attending Cincinnati Public Schools, and with the end of the year winding up so differently from the start, the district said they have learned a lot from the new approach to teaching.
At the beginning of the pandemic-induced remote learning, Cincinnati Public Schools said it struggled to get into contact with some students and families, but was able to reach at least 93% of them. The district initially reported they were missing 5,000 students who could not be located because of outdated contact information on file for parents.
"We are absolutely in a better place now than when we started," said Emily Campbell, CPS director of curriculum.
Another issue the district faced was a lack of student access to electronic devices needed for remote learning, and internet access. CPS acknowledged early on that many families lacked those resources, so it worked to put together paper lessons, and distributed around 6,000 devices to students. The district is working to get more devices, and to help those families connect to the internet.
"Those who have high tech, those who have low tech, those who have no technology could continue learning," said Campbell.
Despite those challenges, CPS is already looking ahead to the fall, working to get input on its plans from parents, teachers and other staff, despite not knowing what the coming school year could look like.
The experience was an adjustment for parents too, as many became surrogate educators during remote learning, to help their children stay on task.
"I'm not a teacher," said Laura Pipitone, a mother of two CPS students. "And I'm very purposely not a teacher. And that's been hard."
She said she struggled to juggle remote learning for 10-year-old Man and five-year-old Coraline, and thinks the district needs to take steps to streamline the process for parents.
"Because it’s coming from so many different places it’s just hard to keep track," she said.
CPS said, despite the challenges, the district has found many advantages that it plans to continue long after the district can get back to normal in-classroom teaching.