OSU-Tulsa Helping Rural Districts With Distance Learning


Tuesday, April 7th 2020, 6:10 pm
By: Erick Payne


Professors at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa are helping teachers and school leaders in rural districts learn how to better educate their students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This program was already up and running before the outbreak hit the U.S. They say they've seen a big surge in attendance though in the last few weeks.

Hundreds of school districts across the state started distance learning this week. In many rural areas, teachers face challenges in helping their students to succeed.

Oklahoma State University says professional development for rural educators is hampered due to limited resources, budget constraints and their isolation from big cities. About 94 percent of Oklahoma schools are considered rural or town school districts.

"We felt like the best thing we could do was support those educators in their work," professor Kathy Curry said.

Curry and Ed Harris are professors of educational leadership at OSU. They say right now, there are three programs to help teachers. Those are Tele Ed, Tele SPED for special education, and Tele EDGE, with the State Department of Education helping with sessions.

Those sessions share information to help teachers set up distance learning curriculum and provide guidance on dealing students' behavior remotely. They also help administrators learn how to lead through the pandemic.

Harris says having those up and running before the COVID-19 restrictions took effect allowed them to hit the ground running.

"And now all 546 districts are sort of tuned in to one, or all of us, during the course of the week. We give them current and pertinent information on how to deal with this pandemic," Harris said.

They say they expect to expand this even more in the fall to engage and connect families.

"So, families can help to express some of their concerns and their challenges, and educators can provide some insight on where to go and what to do to solve those problems," Curry said.

For more information on those sessions and when they take place, click here.  

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