Schools across the state have been doing distance learning for several weeks now, but shifting to at-home learning isn’t easy for every kid, and Williston Public School District One teachers and staff are working to prevent students from slipping through the cracks.
Superintendent of Williston Public School District One Dr. Jeff Thake said, “There’s two words that we’re using here at Williston District One, that’s flexibility and empathy.”
For most kids going to school every day was considered the “norm,” but after COVID-19 hit things took a major shift. Students began learning from home, and teachers at Williston Public School District One have stepped up to make things as convenient as possible.
“We have a lot of teachers who are saying these are our office hours, where if a teacher needs to record the lesson or if the teacher says they’re going to be in my office at this time or this time, if you have any questions, reach out, and I’ll do my best to help you,” Thake said.
Thake says with nearly 4,300 students K-12, they knew not to expect perfection.
“We have some students who are thriving in a distance learning environment and we have others who are not, and with what’s happening with oil and the cost of gas, with families who are probably getting laid off right now, it’s a very stressful environment in some instances,” he said.
A more stressful home life can even lead to depression and anxiety, and school counselors like Haley Jeannotte say taking an “all hands on deck” approach is critical to helping kids perform well.
“This has been a total team effort with administrators, with teachers, with school counselors, school social workers. It’s taking a whole village to be able to help these kids, and we’re really relying heavily on teachers giving us that information to us so that we can contact the families,” Jeannotte said.
Dr. Thake says everyone in Williston Public School District One is handling the situation as best as possible and is prepared for whatever the future may hold.
“We want to make sure we’re embracing this and whatever the new normal looks like it’s probably going to be a mix of traditional, distance, personalized, project-based, you name it,” Thake said.