MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - About 700, kindergarten through 5th graders are enrolled in online, distant learning in the Mankato Area Public Schools District.
That’s out of the 10 area elementary schools the district serves.
Jody Rittmiller, Mankato Area Public School K-5 Distant Learning Coordinator, regularly checks in with students and families.
“I would say students are showing up and they are engaged in their morning meetings, they are a part of their daily instructional times with their teachers. Students are eager to show up and are excited about the day. This morning I was apart of one of the morning meetings and it was so exciting to hear them share and work on that SEL and just that classroom climate. You could tell that everybody was very comfortable and knew each other in the class," said Rittmiller.
Throughout the school day between 60 to 120 minutes a day are set for live, virtual interaction between teachers and students.
“That looks different with grade level. In kindergarten , 1st and 2nd there’s a lot more live instruction happening when you get into 3rd, 4th and 5th there is a lot more small grouping, whole grouping and time set aside for homework help," Rittmiller continued.
And as routines set in, fall expectations are higher for student success.
“We communicated a lot with families going into this that it would be different going into the spring. Greater expectations more rigger. Because we are more prepared and we know that in the spring it was kind of an emergency situation that we were throw into, now with more time to plan and prepare we are able to offer a more richer experience to our families," said Jefferson Elementary Principal Scot Johnson.
For technology, the district continues to work with families.
“At the beginning they were filling out a census form that verified if they have current technology if was working. We had to navigate some situations first but we are ensuring that all families have what they need. We have some families that might have five students working off of internet and just making sure it’s reliable and working through those situations one at a time," said Rittmiller.
The district says each week changes, as some students return to in person-while others opt for online.