Highland Principal Chris Trostad asks that parents call the school ten minutes before their arrival so they can provide "customer service" by bringing the devices out to them to limit exposure.

    Highland Elementary School will be handing out technology Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for student’s upcoming distance learning, Highland Principal Chris Trostad told the Times during an interview Monday. Crookston High School and Washington Elementary School are also planning for the same days and times for their students.

    So, how will that work exactly? Trostad said he’s sending a letter home to Highland families and will do an instant alert to parents as the schools have been working on trying to get devices ready after sending out a technology survey to all the parents. Those parents that need a device for their child, and every child needs their own device as they don’t want multiple kids sharing one computer, the schools will provide a device check-out Wednesday through Friday and teachers will be communication with parents if there is a class packet to pick up.

    “If a parent doesn’t need a device and the teacher emails them and says they don’t have a packet, then you don’t need to come to Highland,” Trostad explained. “For device pick-up, if they could please call Highland (281-5600) about ten minutes before they’re going to come so we can provide that customer service and have it ready at the door so as soon as you show up there is a technology form that has to be signed and then we’ll give you the devices and the packets. Hopefully we can keep parents outside and eliminate that exposure and try to make it very quick for the parents.”

    Trostad said any students that will have packets to pick up for their class, they will be offering pick up next week and into the future.

    Another thing he pointed out was kids attending the designated child care at Highland (for health care and “essential” workers), distance learning will be done at the school during the day so parents don’t have to handle that once the child is picked up and goes home.

    “A big piece that I’d like to get out to parents, too, is that our teachers are preparing to teach the kids,” Trostad added. “I think there’s a little bit of misunderstanding from a couple community members I’ve talked to thinking that the parent’s job is to teach the kids and it’s not the parent’s job it’s the teacher’s job to teach the kids.”

    “We’re in this eight-day shutdown to prepare how that’s going to look,” he continued. “We may need parents to help kids log in to a Gmail which then links to a Google Classroom or a Seesaw, so we’ve tried to limit it to just two different programs. There’s so many programs out there and we need to simplify this for kids and parents.”

    “There’s a lot of applications that kids are using every day in school like IXL and Epic, there’s some different ones; Teachers were using them and I’m fine with that, but we’re really trying to limit it to two programs,” Trostad explained. “Google Classroom, which every student at Highland has a Gmail account, we’ll be sending some information home and trying to do some video tutorials for parents on Facebook and (the) web page, and once parents can help the kids log into their Gmail account there will be links right to the Google documents for Google Classroom and then also to Seesaw; we’ll be helping parents with a tutorial, step-by-step instructions on how to get your kid into Seesaw. Once you get in there, a lot of kids have been using them in class, they’re probably going to be teaching a lot of parents things.”

    Trostad said Highland is trying to do as much electronic education information training and then, also, electronic methods coming back to where students and parents would simply take a picture of the (completed) assignment and send it in as they don’t want a lot of papers coming back to the school that they will have to quarantine. They’d prefer not to send packets home, he added, but there may be more packets for younger students.

    Trostad said preparing for distance learning has been a challenge, especially for teachers of younger students like kindergartners. He says they can’t expect younger students to work solely online, so there will be packets available for those students.

    “With Seesaw, the teacher will actually record lessons and information for the students and the assignments will be right there,” Trostad explained. “If parents have questions, call the teacher. Our teachers are also on the clock from 7:45 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. at the elementary levels. Those teachers will be communicating their schedules with parents and teachers will be available on the telephone, through email, live chat request.”

    “Our teachers will be expected to teach the students and hopefully parents can help them get in and guide them a little bit to get them going,” he added. “At that point we really want the daily interaction to be between the teacher and the student. We still need to take attendance and will be primarily based off of are the kids interacting with the teacher. In some situations, you might see the teachers do in Google Classroom where all the kids log in at the same time and the teacher teaches. If the student has a question they can put in a live chat request with the teacher to make sure they can communicate directly with the teacher.”