The first day of school Thursday, Sept. 3 in the Kent School District was like no other with students all in remote learning from home on their laptops rather than sitting in classrooms.
The Kent School District asked students and parents to submit photos of the first day to the district’s Twitter page. The photos certainly tell their own stories with students at home, some in casual clothing, some in back-to-school clothing and several with special signs marking the first day.
Superintendent Calvin Watts said in a message to parents and students prior to the first day that a lot of work had been done to prepare for the first day of the 2020-2021 school year.
“What I am sure of is that our teachers, principals, school support staff and central office leaders have worked incredibly hard to welcome back our students,” Watts said. “Starting the new year in remote learning, under these circumstances, is new for all of us; (Thursday, Sept. 3) we will make history in the Kent School District.”
Watts said changes have been made since students went to remote learning last spring because of COVID-19.
“One improvement from what students experienced last spring is teachers can provide live, online instruction every school day,” Watts said. “In elementary, middle, and high schools, the expectation is that teachers will provide live, virtual instruction each school day through Microsoft Teams.”
Students will have a chance to engage in social-emotional supports.
“We know this is something families wanted to be prioritized for the school year, and it is also critical to us,” Watts said. “This can look like morning meetings, the teaching of specific social-emotional skills, and or reflection time. These supports will vary by classroom and will change as teachers respond to the needs of students.”
Watts said schools have received district guidance on scheduling for all content areas and have the flexibility to develop their own schedules for instruction. Schedule guidance is available in the Kent School District Remote Learning Plan. Watts said parents and students should check with their teachers for schedule details if they haven’t been shared already.
“I want to say thank you to our staff, our students, our families and our community partners.” Watts said. “As we continue to work together, I know there will be challenges that will be presented to us this year. I also take great comfort in knowing we will continue to get through this together.”