LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Teachers and district leaders from Jefferson County Public Schools are promising parents that the upcoming semester with Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) will go much smoother than it did in the spring. With NTI experience under their belt, they’re assuring concerned guardians that with NTI 2.0, students will be engaged in their at-home schoolwork this fall.
The Jefferson County Board of Education unanimously voted to start the 2020-21 school year with non-traditional instruction this week to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The first round of NTI in the spring had serious issues, from the district not being able to track down students to teachers who were slow working with new technology. JCPS Chief Academic Officer Carmen Coleman said frustrated parents wanted one thing.
“They wished for more consistency,” Coleman stressed to WAVE 3 News.
He explained that NTI 2.0 has been scaled down from its previous version. JCPS will use a shorter list of high-quality programs like Google Classroom district-wide and offer more tech support to families and teachers.
“We’re really putting all of our energy behind supporting our teachers in learning to use any of those resources they may not be familiar with,” Coleman said.
That will happen with training in the two weeks before classes start, and some 500 teachers, like Klondike Elementary’s Jordan Royse, are already leading thousands of engaged students in the district’s Summer Learning Program.
“There were students developing podcasts,” she explained of the program. “I did one called Jurassic World about dinosaurs because I knew that would be a huge hit for students and I had over 200 kids in that one.”
JCPS is also better prepared for NTI this time. The district has ordered an additional 30,000 Chromebooks for students. About 17,000 are ready to be handed out.
While teachers like Royse can’t wait to see students in person eventually, NTI is the safety decision most teachers wanted. The Jefferson County Teachers Association reported that two-thirds of 4000 teachers surveyed in mid-June said no to in-person classes.
JCTA President Brent McKim explained to WAVE 3 News that with coronavirus cases on the rise, no mask enforcement rules and large class sizes were major issues for teachers when it came to the upcoming school year.
“If we have all the students attending class, there’s no way their classroom is large enough to social distance,” McKim said.
When it comes to the problem of finding no-show students, the Department of Pupil Personnel is assisting schools to track them down.