My youngest child is a junior at Minnetonka High School, and has now been doing online schooling since the beginning of April.
Four of my five children had an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in place since grade school, including this youngest daughter. None of them had a major learning disability, but all of them struggled mightily with comprehension. What I always felt they needed most was more direction and more one-on-one help and explanation.
I also felt that the major distractions that come with a classroom of 30-plus kids was a deterrent, not only because of the commotion, but also the inability of a teacher to give undivided attention to one child who needed a little more instruction.
Then COVID-19 comes along, and my youngest is now doing an online version of classes. Teachers do their instruction in Zoom classes where all she can see is her teacher speaking or one student speaking while she sits in front of the computer focused on that one thing. No people in the room with her, no chatter, no distractions. Minnetonka has done an excellent job of keeping her IEP in place and giving her the extra help she might need.
My point is that this has been a game-changer for us. My daughter is able to speak one on one with her teachers through calls or e-mails, ask the questions she needs to ask without feeling like she’s holding up the class when it takes her more time to understand. Her test scores are head and shoulders above where they were before this. She even “aced” her first test.
Had my kids been able to learn like this from the beginning of their schooling, I can’t help but wonder how much better they all would have done.
It may not be for everyone, but this is perfect for my daughter. To take it one step further, if this were the new way of learning, kids could educate from home and still be able to have extracurriculars with smaller buildings and lowers costs for districts. That could mean more money for teachers’ salaries and more money for academic, art and athletic programs.
I, for one, am grateful for the opportunity this has given my child and specifically impressed with how Minnetonka has handled this challenge.
Carolyn Tedesco lives in Chanhassen.