Ready or Not! Distance Learning Begins In Carlsbad Unified School District

Parents and students talk about starting online learning as they pick up chrome books needed for the transition

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Students in the Carlsbad Unified school district will begin distance learning Tuesday when the program will be up and running for every student.

On Monday, parents came to Carlsbad High with their students in their vehicles to drive by and pick up Chromebooks. Some families already had school-issued Chromebooks at home, though families can also use their own computers for the distance learning. 

Romey Thornton came by to pick up a Chromebook for his kindergartener.  His fourth-grader already had hers at home.

“She’s already had orientation from her teacher. They’re up and running,” said Thornton. “I’m excited, especially for my fourth-grader, who is more advanced,  They need to be more engaged beyond what we can do.”

Ana Raj has a fifth-grader and third-grader at the district.

“I think it’s awesome, I think it’s a great start, kids can’t wait to go back to school,” said Raj, who added that she has been getting all the resources lined up, getting chrome books, logging into Google classroom. “We’re really excited.”

Students understandably have their reservations and anxiety.

“I’m really not that excited about it, I’d rather be on campus than online," said Carlsbad High School sophomore Jessica Pantoja. "At least I’ll have something to do now, not being bored.”

Jesus Pantoja was anxious about not having hands-on learning from his teacher.

“At least in the classroom, I would understand things better. Now with everything online, I won’t feel like I’ll get as much help. That’s the one thing I’m not looking forward to.”

He too acknowledged he is happy to have more structure and “something to do.”

Superintendent Ben Churchill, Ed.D. said he knows students are stressed about the virus and about online learning. 

“We know it’s not going to be easy, but we really do believe students will be successful, families will be successful if they give it a shot.”  

He said this will not look like a traditional school.

“We’re not going to sit in front of a screen, for five or six hours a day. It’s going to be different than that.”

He said there will be independent learning at home. He suggests parents support this new model as much as possible, and make sure students have a quiet place to learn.

Acknowledging many parents are working from home or are on the front lines of fighting the virus, he said, “We’re trying to structure this so it doesn’t require a ton of anxiety, time and stress on families.”

To alleviate some of the stress about grades, Churchill said students will not be graded this week. They have spring break next week, and when they get back the district will look at "where it is on distance learning, and then tackle the question of grading." 

He said the district is also looking for guidance from the California Department of education on that issue.

Churchill said the district at all levels is emphasizing two words during this transition - compassion and empathy.  

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