Tulsa Public Schools Leaders Meet To Address Distance Learning Concerns

Monday, September 14th 2020, 9:19 pm
By: Amy Avery

TULSA, Okla. -

Tulsa Public School Leaders are trying to see how they can make some improvements after the first official week of distance learning.

The district said so far 80% of TPS students have logged in for distance learning.

Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said she knows that distance learning cannot replicate school but they're doing the best they can.

"We want to be back in school too,” Dr. Gist said. “I think there is universal recognition that being in school in person is the best way for children to learn.”  

Delores Huerta third grade teacher Kameron Constien said she thought distance learning would be difficult for her third-grade class, but she’s pleasantly surprised with how much students are participating.

“I was really worried about me just sitting there talking to a blank screen and no one responding,” said Constien.

She has students raise their hands or hold up a certain number of fingers to answer if the answer is under 10. She said she shares her screen with students, but students can’t see each other when they are answering.

“I feel like that made shy kids participate more because they didn't feel like everyone was watching them,” said Constien.

Contstien said this is part of her first Zoom meeting in the morning then she has two more calls with her students with breaks built in throughout the day.

She said every teacher is doing their schedule a little differently but said technology has been a challenge for some teachers.

“We know that distance learning even high-quality distance learning cannot replicate school,” said Gist.

District leaders said many parents are already voicing their frustrations about distance learning. Some of the board members who also have children enrolled at TPS said they think communication needs to be more centralized for parents.

"You're getting so many emails from Canvas every day and you multiply that by two or three kids, you're getting district emails, building emails and so the important stuff starts to get lost,” said Suzanne Schreiber, TPS Board Member, District 7.           

Gist said they have resources available online for parents but know it's not the same as in-person classes.

“We fully understand we are not going to be able to resolve all of the concerns that people have,” said Superintendent Gist.

There's also a Parent Resource Page available on the district's website, that includes quick links to distance learning resources like Canvas and Powerschool.

For immediate tech help, parents can call 918-833-TECH or email studentVL@tulsaschools.org.