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Online learning begins for students across Alaska

Bay District Schools report about 90 percent of its non-charter school students were able to log in to BDS Launchpad Monday. (MGN)
Bay District Schools report about 90 percent of its non-charter school students were able to log in to BDS Launchpad Monday. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 7:15 PM AKDT
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Students all around Alaska are back in school, but the classroom is a virtual one.

The Anchorage School District launched its online learning Tuesday. Teachers and students are utilizing online conferencing and classroom tools.

“Please give our teachers some grace,” said Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop. “Teachers, give yourselves some grace. Educators give their parents some grace. And students, give your parents some grace, as they try to negotiate a new sense of normal.”

Amy Frackman, a sixth-grade teacher at Northern Lights ABC School, held her first official “office hours” via zoom.

According to the Anchorage School District, teachers have the training and support materials accessible.

“This is the week we’re all trying to figure out the activities and figure out how much time it’s going to be," Frackman said. "This is the week we’re going to make our mistakes."

Frackman said that in her 24 years of teaching, she said one of the most remarkable things she has seen was the group of professionals that came together to make online learning possible.

“It was two years of work done in two weeks,” she said.

When she asked her class what they missed the most, many gave answers about their friends and recess. One even said she was alright with the online class because she got to participate in her pajamas.

“Creating that new normal is a big challenge,” she said. “I hope that the online learning environment doesn't kill that spark.”

She said it’s been difficult for teachers and students to adjust to that “new normal,” but she also stressed the difficulties parents are going through.

“Being a parent, working, and teaching are all three different, full-time jobs,” she said. “We’re trying to be mindful of that as teachers.”

“Not only am I worried about his academics and my job,” said Joely Bernas, a parent of a student in Frackman’s class, "but I'm also worried about his emotional well being and mine.”

“Everybody is coming together to do what’s best for the kids and do what’s best for the community,” Frackman said. “So, we’re just really here to give that normalcy back.”

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