Salem to hold first e-Learning day this coming Thursday

By: 
Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Both East and West Washington have employed e-Learning or digital days this year and Salem plans to join them later this week.

Technology Director Erin Humphrey spoke to those gathered for the school’s first community dinner on Tuesday night, March 6. She said all middle school students have devices and both elementary and high school students have access to Google Classroom, which they can access from any internet-connected device.

She reassured parents that not all assignments will be digital and that it won’t be a day of parents teaching instead of teachers.

“An assignment may be ‘Read 20 minutes with your parents,’” she said. “… Assignments wont be things you need to teach your kids. Teachers will be accessible for that.”

She said school phones will be manned on scheduled e-Learning days and the buildings will be open for students who need the school environment or access to reliable internet connections in the computer labs. Transportation will be offered for parents who request it by a required date.

“E-Learning is a big state initiative,” said Humphrey. “This would allow for some flexibility on make-up days. Ideally, we want kids in chairs with teachers and we’re not taking built-in snow make-up days out of the calendar. This just gives us some flexibility and can help us ensure kids get as much of their summer as we can.”

The school plans to hold its first e-Learning day on Thursday, March 22, just before spring break. Assignments will be due by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3.

“We want kids who need it to possibly have some time with teachers before the assignment is due,” said Humphrey. She added students will usually be given a few days to complete assignments for e-Learning days, beyond the day itself.

“We’re hoping all assignments will be posted by the teachers before dismissal on the day before, so kids can download that and all materials they’ll need,” said Humphrey.

Attendance will be recorded based on assignments completed. Humphrey said attendance at other schools on e-Learning days doesn’t take a dip when compared to regular school days.

“Often, they see better attendance on e-Learning days than regular school days,” she said. “And again, we will make alternate arrangements with you if you don’t have internet or have other issues.”

For now, Humphrey said, the school doesn’t plan to hold e-Learning days on the days of bad weather or other things that may unexpectedly cancel school, but use them as a means of making up those days later.

“It’s hard to do on-day e-Learning until we’re completely one-to-one and have reliable internet throughout the district,” she said.

Humphrey said March 22 would be a trial run and is largely due to the number of snow days the school has had this year.

“We’re looking for feedback from parents, from teachers,” she said. “Tell us what worked, what didn’t work.”

Questions and concerns can be sent to elearningday@salemschools.us or called in to the administration office at 812-883-4437.

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