Survey after first week back at school: Needs improvement

More than 100 people participated in a Keizertimes survey on how they thought the first week of school was in the Salem-Keizer School District — the district finished its first week of distance learning last week.

Over 90% of those who participated in the survey were parents — 9.3% were teachers. Just under 80% of those parents have their students in comprehensive distance learning while the remaining 20.6% have their kids in the district’s EDGE program.

When participants were asked on a scale of 1-5 — with 1 being terrible and 5 being great — about their overall feelings in the first week of school, 32 people marked “terrible” while just three marked “great.” Seventy-one people chose the 2-4 options.

Only 11.3% of participants didn’t have connectivity issues during the first week of school. Forty participants (37.7%) reported problems with district-issued Chromebooks while 37 participants (34.9%) had issues with the district’s internet connection.

Additionally, 87.8% of participants reported that they had issues with Zoom, while 33.7% said they had a problem connecting to Canvas — the district’s tool for distance learning for students in grades 3-12.

“Log-in process is terrible. You’ll be logged in, but randomly Zoom signs you out. Really annoying. Zoom is the root of all problems,” said one of the responders.

“We love that they are interacting again and learning. But It seems tough on the teachers and students when there are questions about log in or connectivity issues that while the teachers are on their zoom calls, no one is available/able to answer questions if we cant connect,” another responder said.

While just over 50% of participants believe that teachers were able to connect students to learning material effectively, only 14% said that they believe their students will get an adequate learning experience under the new format — 52.3% said that they didn’t believe that their students would receive an adequate experience while the remaining 33.6% cited that they were unsure.

Even through the district has been preparing the online curriculum for several months, just over a quarter of participants said that, so far, the experience for their students has been worse than the distance learning model that was used in the spring. However, 42.6% said that it has been better than spring distance learning and 31.7% said it’s been about the same.

More that a dozen parents commented that the only way they believe their students will receive a high-quality learning experience is if the schools were to reopen.

While many aspects of the first week of school were negative in the eyes of the majority of parents, many people did comment on how teachers and staff members are going above and beyond in the midst of a tough situation.

One participant said: “We had excellent communication from both the teachers and the district, which helped ease frustrations. We went into this school year knowing that this year would have a lot of bumps in the road, so we are doing our best to be patient and not get angry when things aren’t easy or don’t go as planned.”

“My son’s teacher did great given the circumstances. There were some technology issues but not too many for us,” said another participant.

There were also people that reported some of the positive experiences they have had.

“My student is really enjoying her classes, especially the ones where the teachers use things like small groups, polls and hand signals to allow for interaction,” one response said.

Another participant said: “The kids are learning life lessons more than anything. They are learning about patience and resilience and how to react without big emotions.”