READ THIS FIRST It is important to note that this was not a survey with appropriate statistical design or random sampling that would accurately evaluate overall community views on the questions asked. Our intent was to solicit feedback from our community to understand where we could address their needs, regardless of where in the continuum of learning we land in the coming months.
We invited the Kihei community to provide input into their leaning experiences and preferences with distance learning in a short survey that was run from September 29 to October 7. Sixty-four parents, representing seventy-three students responded. All but one (a 5th grader from Kamalii Elementary) attended Kihei Charter.
The majority of respondents felt their children were experiencing negative effects on their learning. Although it is important to note that this is opinion and not reflected in any actual test results, we asked for examples of what was and was not working to provide greater understanding of these responses.
Some parents find that distance learning is improving their child’s learning.
In response to the question, “If you feel that distance learning has HELPED your child’s education, can you share what you think the cause was?” The primary themes from these answers were safe learning environment, less distraction from peers, increased independence and motivation, and improved one-on-one access to teachers. Some of the responses from the survey are shared below:
“My daughter prefers it this way. She seems to learn better independently away from other children that distract her because she is a social child. I do also feel safer this way.”
“Grades have drastically improved with lack of distractions, direct contact & instruction from teachers and security in home space.”
“My student is less distracted, by his peers and has gotten better grades while doing distance learning.”
“My child has become more self-directed and more independent. She has learned the value of working quickly and efficiently and NOT procrastinating. By getting her classwork done in a timely manner, she is able to have more time free to finish her homework in class. By finishing her homework in class, she is able to have more time free after school. It empowers her to improve her time management skills, and better prepares her for college life and life in the work force, where more work is completion based, not time based.”
“It has allowed my student to sleep in a little and that is a good thing for my pre-teen.”
“More one on one time with teachers.”
“She has become super motivated about completing her work and being able to have the rest of the ‘school time’ as free time.”
Some parents find that distance learning is harmful to their children’s education.
We also asked: “If you feel that distance learning has HARMED your child’s education, can you share what you think the cause was?”
“There is no socializing. My student doesn’t personally know any other students in class.”
“… The student can do the work that is put in front of them – but topics aren’t really being taught – nor teaching/feedback of material. There is simply just not enough time and resources for the teachers to offer such instruction and feedback – as they are so busy trying to learn how to be digital teachers. …”
“…at the beginning depression was a big problem for all my kids, my two older ones have never needed help with school but are both struggling now. There have been many tears and stress and technical difficulties. My 7th grader is spending a average of 9 hours a day at her computer.”
“The lack of face to face time with their teacher has caused my child to not fully grasp new concepts. The structure of being home and having a parent be the primary teacher has caused stress on the child /parent relationship to the point where we’ve thought of giving up on school this year altogether.”
“It is hard for her too sometimes stay caught up with class work and then have to do homework after being on the computer for 6 hours. She gets frustrated.”
“My once happy child is completely depressed.”
“Tears every single day. She use to love school and learning and now she hates it.”
“[Middle school] student is on the computer WAY too much! … has been dealing with depression and lack of any motivation to try and excel at all. [High school] is also suffering from depression and social anxiety. … is loosing motivation to try and excel at school and is very concerned that college is not going to be an option or fair when she graduates.”
“Being on the computer all day and the teacher just seeing kids virtually I think allows children who are already overwhelmed by this big change go drift, lose focus. My child has been very disorganized and does not have a grasp on what projects are missing and turning them in.”
“It is hard for children to concentrate at home, they get sidetracked on the computer and switch to playing video games Or watching YouTube anytime a parent isn’t looking over their shoulder. Internet connection is glitchy, and the school provided chrome books don’t work great. They get sidetracked arguing with their siblings, and fighting with their parents about not wanting to do school.”
“There is very little actual instruction going on, just assignments given and collected. My son says, ‘It is a lot of work, but I don’t really learn anything.’ “
“My child has gone from an a student to failing three out of four core classes. For being happy and excited to go to school to begging me to pull him out and homeschool him. It is his first attempt at middle school and he is overwhelmed and so am I. Expecting him to learn in this capacity does not work for every child.”
“School currently is 6 hours of homework a day, a battle with my child, a change I relationship with my child- more distant and increased negativity between us. Doing home work to do homework lacks principle and learning purpose. Zoom meeting 1x per week, 1 interaction with other students and the teacher is a joke. Homeschooling looks more desirable every day to control content and actually learn something.”
What should a return to school look like?
We asked several questions to understand what parent’s preferences toward in person, blended and continuing remote learning would be, if given the ability to choose.
What is helping remote learning work?
We wanted to understand, and share, some of the things that teachers have tried and that has been working well for our remote learners. We asked “Do you have an example of something awesome your teacher has done to help your keiki learn this year?” Fifteen of the fifty total responses noted teacher’s ready availability and willingness to help as a key to making virtual learning successful.
“I love that they are doing small group zooms for teacher help and I also really like the loom videos that she can watch to help her when she needs it.”
“All of her teachers are making a real and successful effort to give a variety of the type of work, so that it is not all online. She has an excellent mix of online, discussion, worksheets, and hands-on assignments.”
“One of her teachers called her to check on how she was doing. They have been flexible with assignments because they know it has been hard on then students and overwhelming.”
“One on one lessons”
“My son’s … teacher has agreed to let him come meet with her in the classroom once a week for two hours. This is the only thing that has kept us from completely dropping out of school. At least now he has some accountability to his teacher, and not just to me.”
“…has been providing worksheets to give the students offline activities.”
“Teacher provided a binder of activities for offline learning. She also provided bags of stem materials to enable science activities. Finally students can win “Dojo bucks” for an online auction that has provided some added motivation to do well.”
What are some remote learning problems or fails?
We also wanted to understand what is not working and asked: “Do you have an example of something your teacher has tried to help your keiki learn this year, but that really does not seem to be working?”
“Zoom breakout rooms bc most kids do not participate or are very shy. Too awkward. Wish they would just have kids “hang out” as a pose to try and work together. Let kids play bingo or trivia or something as a group.”
“Instruction through redundant or passive videos (health class portion of PE).”
“Math isn’t working over distance learning.”
“Having any order or control over the class is impossible with no way of enforcing rules and expectations. 1st [graders] don’t know how to type, or work computers so it falls on the stressed out … parents.”
“Keeping cameras on during zoom classes while students do homework or independent study time ( even though I understand why…) is very very draining and makes my extremely self conscious daughter anxious to the point she cannot focus or concentrate.”
“Too much Zoom! Can’t there be assignments where the kids can learn without their camera on? I don’t understand why students need virtual babysitting.”
“Too many platforms. Would prefer more of a checklist type work each day.”
“Accelus isn’t very good.”
“My daughter feels a bit uncomfortable keeping her camera on during a zoom class the entire time, as some classes feel a little long, especially after they have their assignments, and are working on them…She suggests to check in the beginning of class and end, rather than working in silence on zoom with rest of the class…”
“The communication has been challenging. …sometimes doesn’t get an answer to her question until after the assignments are due.”
“Having multiple teachers try to collaborate on an assignment to travel abroad with an itinerary airfare budget food restaurants was way above their age level. It has required hours worth of parent help. I’m not even sure my sophomore could complete this project without parental help. Way above their grade or skill level.”
“Watching six videos for social studies it’s not only boring but the kids are not retaining this information and are not learning.”
“Doing computer science, finding complicated tasks or it’s difficult to learn over the computer,…”
“My child is so sad about distance learning. She spends 8 hours or more glued to a screen in isolation. She’s miserable and won’t talk about it.”
Any Other Comments?
At the end of the survey we asked parents if they had any other information that they wished to share. Each alternating shade is a different comment.
|I’m very concerned about all kids spending way too much time on screens. Also, There is no evidence that COVID-19 is a threat to children. Statistics actually show there is no real threat.|
|I do appreciate the teachers and is not a knock on them when I am frustrated with the lack of learning. I am frustrated with the learning style that is forced with distance learning and my child needing in person instruction. Mahalo for your time!|
|Considering of covid the safety of our child and our family in person learning will be abit too hard. Distance learning is not bad however teachers should better work a better way to teach the children without overwhelming them with homework from paper work and IXL and othe app programs or being on virtual 5x a week. Considering alot of families has multiple children as well and parents has some chores or work to do and not every parent is able to supervise there children fulltime.|
|If school returns in person I would expect the highest level of safety protocols to be put in place. Mandatory masks indoors at all times. All eating or any other activities that can not be done with masks should be done outside. Outside learning and classrooms would be ideal for this school year.|
|KCS has much potential. However it lacks in communication, planning and consistency. This has been ongoing and highlighted during Covid19. Parent input should be valued for major decisions, and this survey is greatly appreciated. In the past, parent input has been avoided and almost shunned. This school is still in its infancy and has much to learn itself.|
|The main issue is I’m a working mom and my kids are having to do school on their own and then I have to spend about four hours after I get off work trying to help them with school. It’s absolutely terrible. Not the kind of learning option I would ever have chosen for my kids.|
|My primary concern with blended learning is the schedule. With 3 kids in 3 grades and 2 levels, we need a simple, well organized schedule so that we are not driving kids to and from school all day, ever day.|
|It’s been frustrating that the school itself hasn’t reached out to the parents on what they want or need.|
|Young teen is getting depressed. No contact with friends and teachers. And internet issues cause frustration.|
|If they continue with distant learning, 3rd graders should do more zoom meetings than just once a week and maybe an hour each time (30 minutes for class, 30 minutes to socialize).|
|Socialization is critical for education and mental health. This is a huge disservice to children to isolate them.|
|My child is so sad about distance learning. She spends 8 hours or more glued to a screen in isolation. She’s miserable and won’t talk about it.|
|Just want in person for mental health and socialization and better education. Not worried about a virus one bit.|
|Please return to full time in person. We can see from the mainland that are mostly in person school that kids aren’t getting sick but it’s causing tons of other problems.|
|My kids have always been excellent/eager students and to see them lose that “self direction” 21st century skill is pretty disheartening. The message they’re taking away from this time is “what’s the point in showing up, you can probably do ___fill in the blank___ from home”.|
|It’s not about “learning” are they retaining the information and able to recall it later|
|The students need to go back to school|
|Give kids zoom daily not once a week that’s not enough and limit the worksheets. Ridiculous amount of homework|
|It is important for children’s emotional and social growth to have experiences and close relationships with peers and other adults outside the home. By keeping children locked up at home we are stunting their emotional growth and maturity. We have a high-level frustration in our home every day with three children trying to do distance-learning and all struggling with it. As a parent I am unhappy being tied to the house nonstop, it is difficult to even get out and get groceries.|
|Adolescents need in person peer interaction. Being on camera ll day skyrockets social anxiety in youth and makes them feel very self-conscious. Middle-schoolers need to form positive in person relationships with teachers who care.|
|My teenage son feels very frustrated and angry about being trapped in a room all day stuck on a computer. Being home all day every day with nowhere to go has triggered depression and anger. My son is angry at the school for assigning so much work and expecting so much of him, but then not teaching him at all in person and giving nothing back to the students. He says, “why should I do their work all day when they don’t do anything to help me?” Please return our students to school full-time. They need meaningful relationships with peers and teachers in order to be emotionally healthy and to mature properly. Six months out of school is enough already.|
|I would support full face to face if masks were 100% required and enforced —which are necessary to keep everyone safe from exposure and subsequent quarantine|
|The school has been overly cautious and great at sharing information.|
|Distance learning in elementary and middle school is not conducive for a successful future for the economy. I see the distance affecting families emotionally and mentally. Please don’t let a few peoples fears make the decisions for the majority|
|It’s important to remember we are still in a pandemic, even though our numbers are low , it is uncertain what will happen 10/15. I know it’s not convenient for a lot of families, but my kids have seemed to very resilient and are doing great amidst the circumstances. We have to remember how fragile our health care system is here. Especially when in comes to pediatrics god forbid any of our keiki come Ill. I’m torn, but I think keeping our kids home may be the best option Because our fragile healthcare system& geographic location for resources.|
|“If school must continue distance learning, what sorts of needs can be better met for your child?” I’d love if packets of printed material could be handed out. My printer at home is being used every day. Also I’d be pretty disappointed if my child has NO opportunities to go to in person school next quarter. Even one day a week. Parents want the support and kids want to see (meet) their classmates in person|
|Not every student learns well in this environment sitting on a computer for six hours a day where students are not able to interact with their peers are unable to interact with their teachers and are forced to watch video after video is not quality learning. What may work in a normal classroom environment does not work in the same capacity of our computer. It needs to be reevaluated. Example Acellus Art where they listen to a boring teacher lecture over and over on video. They’re not drawing sketching making projects. An absolute waste of elective credit and time.|
|Considering of covid the safety of our child and our family in person learning will be abit too hard. Distance learning is not bad however teachwrs should better work a bettwr way to teach the children without overwhelming them for being on virtual 5x a week. Considering alot of families has multiple children as well and parents has some chores or work to do and not every parent is able to supercise there children fulltime.|
|Hope all the teachers can make their drop off and pick up time for homeworks/worksheets on Friday or any day so that we can only go to school for one day. Not drop off at Friday then pick up on Monday.|
|They are given videos and independent learning. Facilitated by parents|
|Students are frustrated, bored, overwhelmed with six hours of computer lectures, and I’m not sure what information they are actually learning or retaining. Please reevaluate what may work in your classroom does not work in a virtual setting. Also remember the parents are the ones that are at home doing their best to facilitate all of the requirements these teachers are sending home. Have some grace. My child went from being a straight a student to failing three out of his four classes due to this online structure. Not everyone is thriving|
|Distance learning does not work for every child. The teachers need to be available to answer questions kids should not be expected to sit on computers for six hours a day and then do busywork on top of it. How much are these kids actually learning? Compared to having to facilitate their own videos and busy work.|
|Kindergarten children don’t know how to log in, read etc. Kindergarten children need to attend class full time. How do you expect a 5 year old to do all this zoom, reading, etc?!?|
Thank You for Participating!
Thank you for your feedback about what is and is not working for you during these trying times. If you would like to get involved in helping address some of the challenges we are facing and helping students, parents, and teachers do better, consider joining the PTSA. You can also get involved with the KCS Parents Group on Facebook.