Horizon Elementary transitions to remote learning, forgoes balanced schedule

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As students and teachers of Horizon Elementary prepared to go back to school this fall, they faced even more changes than most other schools in Holt.

While everyone grappled with the challenges associated with online learning, Horizon also dealt with a switch from their balanced schedule back to the traditional schedule used by a majority of the district.

As one of two schools in the district that normally operates on a balanced schedule, the Horizon students are used to a shorter, five-week summer break, offset by a break in October and a two-week spring break. This year, however, all schools in the district are on the same calendar as the district goes online for remote learning, and students and families of Horizon have enjoyed having a longer summer break, Principal Kindra Padgett, said.

“In the past I would have said it would upset parents’ travel plans, we’re used to having a break in October and we’re used to having a two week spring break that we aren’t getting this year but because of COVID I don’t think that parents have really had to adjust any sort of travel plans,” Padgett said.

There have been challenges however, as students, teachers and families have all had to quickly learn new technology and methods of teaching and learning through a screen instead of face to face. The biggest challenge, Padgett said, has been the technology, and getting a school that was not previously one-to-one with technology the Chromebooks its students need to be able to work from home.

Getting students the hardware was not the only hurdle, as parents and students had to learn how to access learning platforms and educational sites such as ThinkCentral and Reading Street that students have traditionally only used in school. Teachers, students and families have been amazing, Padgett said, and the learning curve for everyone involved has been very impressive.

“We have had to completely undo and redo what we’ve learned about teaching and what we know how to do, and what we’ve done for the past, I don’t know, 100 years or so,” Padgett said. “The amount of time teachers did it in was amazing, and we couldn’t do it without the help of families too.”

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