HELENA — The pandemic has changed the entire school year for students and teachers, of those big changes, one in particular applies to some teachers - a group of teachers in the Helena School District have been classified as DLI or Distance Learning Instructor.
Jefferson Elementary School Teacher Abby Kuhl is a DLI for Kindergarten through second graders. She says, “I think that’s a big misconception where some people think you know we are at home doing dishes during the day, but that’s not true, we are very much working full-time at the school.”
Kuhl teaches from the school, but all of her students are distance learners. She says another misconception people may have, is her students perform all school work, online.
Abby added, “We have been trying to get those tasks partly online, partly not online, because we want them to have those paper-pencil experiences especially because they are so young.”
Because Abby’s students are all distance learners- her schedule as a teacher has to be more flexible throughout the day.
Abby says, “We try to be flexible to work with the family’s schedules because some are able to do their work during the day some do it after school, you know regular school hours so within the day they have tasks they need to complete.”
Not only are her students completing their tasks, but Abby says they’re also achieving benchmark standards for their grades.
Kuhl says, “We have teachers who worked really hard this summer going through okay what do the kindergartners need to be successful in 1st grade, and what do the 1st graders need to be successful in 2nd grade and so on, and we really looked at those essential standards and have been focusing on those.”
Abby says her distance learners are near or at the same level as students who are meeting inside the classroom.
She added, “I think that is huge, and I think that is something that really needs to be celebrated!”
Abby told MTN News she is confident when her students move on to the next grade, they will be ready!