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Friday, July 10, 2020

Letters

Phillips for Fallsburg School Board

Jun 1, 2020

To the editor:
As a grandparent of two young Fallsburg students, I'm responsible for their home schooling. During the past couple of months I have been teaching them 5 days a week. As a result, I've interacted with 8 teachers (4 dual-language teachers, plus the teachers of phys ed, art, music, and the library). The teachers are doing a fantastic job under difficult circumstances!
My grandchildren do most of their work on hard copies of the schoolwork that the teachers thankfully sent home. I'm also helping the kids work online. This has been a challenge, because each teacher approaches online learning in his or her own way, and not all teachers provide a learning schedule, or priorities. To complicate matters, some of the teachers communicate via an app that is only available to parents. If the homeschool teacher is someone other than a parent, tough luck!
The teachers altogether have sent me 16 recommended educational websites, each with a separate user name and password and many with different pathways for access…a nightmare, especially for kids who are just learning to read! Imagine what it must be like to navigate the system for someone trying to homeschool more than two children, or someone who doesn't speak English well!
The Fallsburg School District recognizes that many of our students have limited resources for working online. The schools sent home laptops for students who needed them and also created internet “hotspots” in some areas. But hardware is only a start.
Some teachers do a great job with online learning tools. Others clearly are still finding their way with the technology. Our school district needs to bring all teachers up to speed with online interactive teaching techniques, not just for emergency situations like this, but for the future.
You'll see my name on the ballot for the Fallsburg School Board. If elected to the Board, I will encourage training for teachers in online learning technology. I will also urge the District to provide guidelines to the staff so that access to the internet will be uniform for all classes.
Please check the box for Stephanie Phillips on your mail-in ballot, and make sure it gets to the District Clerk in the postage-paid envelope before June 9. You'll find information about my goals and credentials at stephaniephillips.info.


Stephanie Phillips, PhD
Fallsburg




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