Jackson Public Schools return to learning with blended model

Posted at 6:20 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 18:31:11-04

LANSING, Mich. — Some mid-Michigan students are already back to learning.

That’s because one school in Jackson uses what’s known as a “balanced calendar,” which means summer break is shorter with more time off during the school year.

"For the first time since March 13, Jackson Public Schools had students ride the bus, come to school and do the school day," said Jeff Beal, Jackson Public Schools Superintendent.

Hunt Elementary is the only school in the district that’s on a balanced calendar and Tuesday was their first day back.

Beal said the district is spending more than a million dollars to make sure buildings and students are ready to learn in a COVID-19 world.

“It is vital kids get the in-school experience, to me, social-emotional support,” Beal said.

To make social distancing work, only half the students will be in the building at a time. Teachers and staff must decide what kids go on what days, which Beal said is easier than it sounds.

"The first place we start is that sibling cohort and beyond that the teachers break down their class rosters and class assignments," he said.

Teachers are having to switch how they teach every day.

Every student is now provided an electronic device.

Beal said this will help with the "flipped" model of teaching happening the district.

"Rather than a kid coming to school and getting the instruction in the building and then doing the homework at home, we flipped that. They are getting the instruction at home and coming to the building to do their homework," he said.

Beal said all the construction projects in the district are on track to being completed. That’s because he expects everyone to be able to return someday.

The other schools in Jackson Public Schools will start the school year Aug. 25.

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