‘I Don’t Feel Completely Ready’: Miami-Dade Educators Worried About Online Start To School Year

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CBS4 | by Karli Barnett | August 26, 2020

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Classes are supposed to resume in Miami-Dade County Public Schools Monday. But the chairperson of the school board says they are simply not ready, and it turns out she’s not the only one who thinks that.

“We’re going to start on Monday and kind of learn as we go I guess with the students,” said teacher Richard Ocampo.

Teachers say they’re trying to learn the district’s new online system as quickly as possible.

“I don’t feel completely ready. But we have had enough sessions I think to get somewhat used to it. we haven’t had much hands-on experience yet,” Ocampo said.

They’ve been doing the training on the K-12 system since the 20th and some teachers say their workload is greater than ever.

“How can you tell me to make it work when it’s your responsibility in the district downtown office to set up all these classes for us because you’re the course developers. And you want us to do teaching a course development at the same time?” said teacher Thais Alvarez.

As far as readiness, Miami-Dade School Board Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon admits they aren’t where they should be.

“The answer is, has there been adequate training? Absolutely not. There is not adequate training for a new system in the fourth largest district in the nation facing a pandemic and unchartered waters that will take place over the course of 7-10 days,” he said.

He said part of that is due to late approval from the Florida Board of Education before they could begin training.

“In the executive order, there had to be a reopening plan submitted by all school districts throughout the state Florida. Our plan was ultimately approved August 17,” he said.

The K-12 system will be used across the board, but there have been some issues.

“Not everyone of the district has been able to see the actual curriculum. They’ve seen samples,” said Martin Karp with District 3 school board.

Gallon says that issue was fixed Wednesday and starting Thursday all teachers should be able to access the system and curriculum.

United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats issued a statement, which read:

“Adapting to new technology is something that requires interacting with the program for a sustained amount of time before becoming fluent and efficient on the platform. So far, the training for K12 has been ineffective and the time allotted to learn it has been unacceptable. We are remaining optimistic about the August 31 start date, but many of our teachers are concerned that they will not be fully prepared come Monday.”

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says they are going to reevaluate opening schools back up on October 5 by September 30.

That process will be done in stages and only for the parents who want to send their children back.