Billings schools evaluating effectiveness of online learning

Posted at 8:11 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 22:46:57-04

BILLINGS — Billings Schools Superintendent Greg Upham said Tuesday that Billings teachers are trying to define what appropriate proficiency looks like in an online classroom to make sure students are ready for the next level.

“I introduced the conversation about proficiency. That’s my biggest concern now ... Are our students on grade level? Are they ready to move to the next level? Those are the questions I’m asking our professionals to start to define. What does proficiency look like specific to the course they’re teaching, the content, and or the grade level,” Upham told Q2 News Tuesday.

After the school closure was extended to April 10 by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock Tuesday afternoon, concerned parents now want to know what the end of the school year holds for their kids, Upham said.

"I don’t know," Upham said referring to the end of the school year. "I appreciate what the governor is doing in taking this in two-week increments. The closure through April 10 follows (Health Officer) John Felton’s directive for Yellowstone County. I’m supportive of that. Being consistent is critical in that. We’re still watching and waiting. But we are preparing and having conversations about if this closure would extend through the rest of the school year," Upham said.

While thousands of Billings students have been forced to learn at home, Upham said he will bring teachers on to his Facebook live broadcast to help parents structure their children's days.

"What we’re finding is parents are needing more and more support in how to support their children at home. Which is what we fully anticipated. In my noon Facebook live broadcast, I’ll bring on one of our teacher leaders tomorrow to assist our parents with how to organize their day and the material moving forward specific to elementary. We’ll focus on elementary, middle and high school as we work through this," Upham said.

Upham urged parents of students with special needs kids to call their school to obtain learning resources.

"We are continually building resources for all of our students with exceptional needs, and those types of things. I tell the public and our parents to please reach out to the schools if we have not had contact with you. Our building principals said yesterday that they feel they’ve met about 95 to 98 percent of our students and parents," Upham said.

Visit the Billings School District 2 website for the latest on COVID-19 procedures by clicking here.

Watch the full interview with Upham here:

Billings schools evaluating effectiveness of online learning