Moffat County School District Superintendent wants graduation to happen at its regular time | CraigDailyPress.com
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Moffat County School District Superintendent wants graduation to happen at its regular time

Dan England Craig Press
Moffat County School District

Superintendent David Ulrich believes the least disruptive time for his  Moffat County School District RE-1 to host high school graduation would be at its regular time.

But his reason for that will also present the biggest challenge of the district actually achieving that. 

“It’s one of the biggest events in our community,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich made those comments to the school board Thursday evening during its regular meeting as he spoke about ways the coronavirus continues to hit the district.

Ulrich doesn’t really know any details yet of how the district will hold the graduation and respect the social distancing requirements that are now standard across the state and the country. He did say other districts across the state have discussed hosting a graduation as far as August, but that’s not what Ulrich would prefer.

He hopes to have more details next week regarding the ceremony and the official time it will take place. 

The board also discussed other matters regarding the virus.

STUDENTS MORE ENGAGED THROUGH ONLINE LESSONS

The brightest news was Moffat County students appear to be more engaged in online lessons and getting their work done compared to the rest of the state.

About 83 percent of all students have had some form of engagement with the online learning the district installed after the virus forced the transition, which the district began in the first part of April after what amounted to a trial period that began in mid-March. More than 60 percent of their assignments are being completed, said Zach Allen, director of curriculum.

The high school had an 88 percent engagement rate, and students were completing 60 percent of the work. Those numbers are higher than the elementary school, which had an engagement rate of 73 percent and a work completion rate of less than 60 percent.

Those numbers may not be terrific, Allen said, but he also said online learning required an amount of independent learning that elementary students may find challenging. Teachers, he said, are doing the best they can.

“It’s not as good as face-to-face learning,” Allen said. “We know that. This is not what we all signed up for, in a lot of ways. But one of our guiding principles is we will do the best we can do.”

Numbers were much lower across the state, Ulrich said, with engagement dipping below 50 percent in many places. Board President JoAnn Baxter praised the district given its performance against the state, even stating that her son teaches high school in the Jefferson County School District.

“His students are at 30 percent engagement,” she said. “He’s very discouraged.”

Allen said the district would send out surveys to learn what they could do better as well as prepare for the possibility of online learning this fall, although he essentially said he didn’t want to think about that yet.

“We have a ton on our plate as it is,” he said. “It’s not an eventuality that any of us want to think about right now.”

PENDING STATE BUDGET CUTS

The district also likely will face some cuts from the state and have to cut its own budget as a result, although Ulrich doesn’t know much more than that at this point. Both he and Baxter have looked into the potential numbers and they aren’t good at all. No one, not even the state, knows how the economy will play out these next few months, but the state anticipates deep cuts. As of right now, the district is in a hiring freeze, although that could change, Ulrich said, based on the numbers.


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