JASPER COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - The West Jasper School District began on Aug. 6 with in-person learning and an option to opt-out and learn virtually. West Jasper Superintendent Warren Woodrow shared how the district is adapting and working to accommodate its virtual students.
“The biggest challenge for us has been the virtual learning,” Woodrow said. “The planning for it, training our teachers to do something they’ve never done before and all the logistics involved with that. And then to be quite honest, some of our students are doing a real good job with it, and some of them not so much.”
Woodrow says 23% of the West Jasper District is participating in virtual learning. Because this is uncharted territory for the district, it’s continuing to improve the virtual learning system. Woodrow says keeping virtual learning students at the same pace as in-person students is difficult.
“The grades for our virtual students are not as good as I would like to see.” Woodrow said. “The participation is not what I would like to see with some, some are doing a great job.”
Right now, online classes at West Jasper are not being held live. But schools are still delivering the same assignments for virtual students to complete and upload as students in the school building.
“We’re trying to start simple and progress as we go,” Woodrow said. “Our number one goal is for our teachers, who had never done virtual learning or instructed that way, to have some sort of lesson plans delivered to those students that match the classroom.”
Woodrow says if parents have any issues with their child’s remote learning materials or deadlines, they should reach out to the student’s teacher and principal first.
“Part of our challenge is helping our parents help their children, because a lot of our parents have never experienced anything like this, so it’s a work in progress,” Woodrow said. “We’re getting better as we go. It’s not perfect, but everyone is doing the best we can and my teachers are really, really working hard to both to instruct the students in their classroom and then to find time to teach themselves how to use this new technology and to teach their students at home.”
Woodrow adds that the district was able to provide devices to every student that chose the virtual option and has Wifi hotspots set up on buses across the county for remote students to access the internet if needed.