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Leon County parents push for more uniformity in distance learning across district

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 18:19:43-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County Schools has entered phase two of the distance learning process, meaning more work and more digital learning.

One Tallahassee mom says that juggling the coursework for all her kids feels like she's assumed the role of every teacher.

Now, Talethia Edwards is asking if there's an easier way to present all of the work.

"I have 7 children," said Edwards. "Twenty-eight teachers that I'm dealing with right now."

For Edwards, juggling her children's coursework hasn't been a cakewalk.

"I'm not a stranger to teaching my own children, but I am new to adjusting to 20 plus new ways of teaching my children," Edwards said.

She says the hard part is keeping up with the different ways the teachers are presenting the work.

While one is still working with paper packets, another is using her website, and another is using a Microsoft product.

"I believe this is about learning, not replicating the school environment," said Edwards. "I think that's what we're pushing. What happens in the classroom and having that translate in the home. I don't think that's the most practical way to do it."

In a Facebook Live video, superintendent Rocky Hanna and assistant superintendent Gillian Gregory told parents who are feeling overwhelmed to reach out.

"We recognize this is a really difficult time," Gregory said. "We want you to communicate with your teachers. Share with them what is challenging about this environment and specifically what we can do to help your child be successful."

One challenge many parents are facing is just getting connected to the internet.

Hanna says Leon County Schools is working on that.

"We've identified 18 Section 8 housing areas," said Hanna. "We are working with residents to get them connected to the internet."

Principals are also allowed to use school funds to get laptops for low income students while also reallocating money to mail paper packets if necessary.

Talethia Edwards kids all go to Title I Schools.

She says it's important that their classmates get access to those things, but that's just the beginning of how LCS can help.

"If Leon County Schools called me up and said, 'Talethia, what can we do to make this better?' I would say, 'Let's streamline the process. Give some direction about how it can be done uniformly across the district.'"

Edwards says she'll continue to push for a uniform way to do distance learning. Leon County Schools says the best way to do that is to reach out to the individual schools.