Parent’s Playbook: School City of Mishawaka

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 4:58 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Tonight in our Parent’s Playbook, Chromebooks are being handed out to Mishawaka School kids ahead of their first day back to school tomorrow.

Our own Tricia Sloma recently interviewed Superintendent Wayne Barker about the improvements to online learning.

Tricia Sloma: Mishawaka school kids will be logging on for their first day back to school. Joining me now school city Mishawaka superintendent, Wayne Barker. Good to see you, sir.

Mr. Barker: Good morning Tricia How are you?

I'm doing great and I know you have been probably a very stressed out individually concerning everything that has been going on. I want to go over the dates for online learning, this is going to go well into September is that right?

That's right. Right now we're planning to go for a minimum of six weeks so we'll start with our students on Wednesday August 12 and go through September 18 at a minimum.

Well as a pilot program, you operated a successful summer virtual program, what did you learn from that?

Well, we learned that we have a lot of capacity with our teachers, you know. They, they've worked extremely hard to be able to move from a school district prior to March 13 that had never had one e-learning day, and now we're this summer, using a virtual live instruction that went incredibly well. Our teachers were able to connect with students using their computers and were able to check in on them and not only worry about the academics with them, but check in on their mental health and social emotional well-being and we couldn't have been more pleased, really, with how that went and it was a great pilot for us. For now, not being able to start in a physical way with our students in person. And I think it really prepared us for what we're going to face here tomorrow.

I'll give you a chance to brag now about your teachers because this says a lot about their professional development over the summer.

It really does you know our teachers work very hard with our curriculum and instruction team and, you know, I think, I always challenge our teachers to, you know about the 'why' and I think a lot of times you know the 'Why' is the most important thing. And we worry so much about the what, where, when and how, and now we've had to really work on the how again, because the idea of working virtually with students is a much more challenging idea for not only teachers but also for our students so we couldn't be more pleased with how our, our teachers have worked this summer. It's caused a great deal of anxiety, and we're trying to get them to understand that that we just need them to be where they are right now and we'll grow from there and you know I certainly wish we didn't have a global pandemic but I think it will be really exciting to see how this improves our ability to have a blended learning model here at School City of Mishawaka.

We wish you the best of luck this new school year. Thank you for joining us.

Thank you.

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