District reaches out to keep learning alive

Northern Ozaukee staff uses virtual classes, delivery of packets and devices to stay in touch with students, families

OZAUKEE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL Lynn Kucharski stood by plastic bins filled with packets of school work ready to be delivered to students who now are at home doing their school lessons during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

As they say, it takes a village, and in this case several townships, to educate students in the Northern Ozaukee School District.

The district delivering schoolwork packets and devices to students and their families  as well as helping senior citizens with their errands, Supt. Dave Karrels said.

“It’s kind of neat to see the traction that the effort has gotten,” he said.

Karrels said one group is forming to create care packages for people who have needs.

“We expect it to be rolling out the week after spring break. We don’t have the list laid out yet; we’re more focused on senior citizens and some of the things they may be needing and packages more tailored to families with younger students, gathering supplies and respond to specific needs and requests,” he said.

Students at home are attending class virtually through Google Classroom or other programs.

NOSD has more experience with online learning than most districts because of its years of experience with Wisconsin Virtual Learning (WVL), an online school whose enrollment includes students from across the state.

Many students who attend NOSD brick-and-mortar buildings simultaneously or during the summer take courses through WVL. Many teachers, as well, have taught classes through WVL.

One challenge, however, is adapting the current distance-learning mandate to special-education students, who often have needs that demand more one-on-one attention than other students, Karrels said.

“It varies between grade levels, but one of the challenges is how do we work creatively with that,” he said.

“In the lower grade levels, with very young children, there has been a lot of communication with parents at home, a lot of video conferencing to meet face to face with that child.”

Like every student in third through 12th grades, special-needs students have access to Google Classroom, which allows them and teachers to virtually meet in groups. 

In addition, special-education students and parents meet with teachers and staff through Skype, Facetime or other programs to make sure they are following the Individual Education Plan set up for each student, Karrels said.

“There’s such a wide range of individuals and arrangements,” he said. 

The district is able to organize home visits for higher-needs students who require an adult being with them, he said.

“But as with anything under the current circumstances, that’s something else we’re going to have to navigate,” he said. 

Karrels said people are doing “really well” with the current changes, but he said he expects more challenges to arise the longer the crisis lasts.

On Monday, March 30, the district will begin distributing breakfasts and lunches for children younger than 18. 

The district will send out a weekly survey through email and post it on its Facebook to get a count of how many children will need meals each week. 

Additional meals will be prepared for those unable to complete the survey.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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