Granton school to go to virtual format every other Friday
Beginning this week, all students at the Granton Area School District will be participating in virtual school days every other Friday until the end of 2020. The Granton School Board made the decision at its regular board meeting on Oct. 12 to hold the virtual school days and to review the necessity of the classes at the end of the calendar year when they will have a better idea on how the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds over the fall and winter months.
Starting on Oct. 23, the students who regularly attend in-person classes at the district will remain at home during the school day and do assignments online while teachers will have the opportunity to catch up on their own work and communicate with the regular virtual students about any issues they are facing with their classes.
“The teachers have expressed their concerns about stress and mental health,” said district administrator James Kuchta. “We’re looking for a way to allow teachers to catch up and get a chance to prepare while still meeting the needs of all our students.”
The teachers at the meeting stated the changes made to this school year have put a lot more pressure on them in their work, and there have been a lot of challenges they have faced in balancing out teaching both in-person and virtual students at the same time.
“We have a lot of stressed out staff,” said Kim Aumann, one of the school’s teachers. “Teachers don’t have the time to connect with their virtual students and talk about lessons and things they don’t understand.”
By changing the school calendar for the next couple months to include a bi-weekly virtual day for all the Granton students, Kuchta and Aumann said the teachers will be able to get the opportunity to connect with those virtual students and give the rest of the students some practice with online learning in case the school needs to be shut down again later in the year.
“This will be a good thing for the students,” said Aumann. “We may all have to be virtual so this will be some good practice.”
“If we go virtual, we want to be prepared for that,” added Kuchta. “Instead of snow days, we could do virtual days.”
After Oct. 23, there are five other virtual days that have been scheduled: Nov. 6, Nov. 20, Nov. 25, Dec. 11 and Dec. 23. Most of these dates, Kuchta said, were already scheduled in the calendar as half-days and students should not lose out on instructional minutes by going virtual.
The Board also discussed creating and implementing a five year strategic plan for the district at its meeting. When finished, the plan will lay out the direction of where the district plans to be at the end of 2025 in all areas, from extracurricular activities to technology and building developments.
“We plan on putting together a five year plan from 2021 to 2025 for all programs, activities and facilities,” said Kuchta. “This will be used as a guiding document for the school district.”
To create the plan, Kuchta said the district needs to form a committee made up of school staff and community members who have an interest in the school’s future. The school will put the committee together by the end of November and expects to have a strategic plan ready for use by the end of April 2021.
Granton citizen award
John Richmond of the Granton Rotary presents the organization’s 2020 Citizen of the Year award to Arlene Beilke at an Oct. 13 meeting. Beilke would normally have been honored during the September Fall Festival parade, but that tradition had to be changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
CHEYENNE THOMAS/STAFF PHOTO