Maher says high number of students actively engaged with remote learning in SF district

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FAllS, S.D. (KELO) — The numbers show students in the Sioux Falls School District are actively learning through remote instruction, superintendent Dr. Brian Maher said in an April 13 news briefing.

Maher said the district designed a matrix to define active learning that includes students turning in work to teachers and students logging into computers for instruction.

At the high school level, 93% of the students are actively learning. The percentage initially surprised him, Maher said But when he considers factors such as grades necessary to graduate, the ability to do work along and connect to online instruction, puts the percentage in perspective.

Overall, 86% of elementary students are actively learning, 85% of middle school students are and 80% of students in specialized categories are, Maher said.

Maher said the actively learning percentages may be similar to attendance figures at each level.

While the percentages are good, the district still needs to reach those students who aren’t actively learning, Maher said.

“We have to figure that out,” Maher said.

The method to reach those remaining students may be similar to what the district has done to increase the graduation rate. The district identified the best way to reach individual students to help improve graduation rates.

The district has at least 23,000 students.

Remote learning will continue through the remainder of the school year. When June arrives, Maher expects another change because of COVID-19.

Gov. Kristi Noem, (R), and the South Dakota Legislature included a 2% raise for teacher salaries in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget.

Maher said he expects that 2% to be at least reduced when the Legislature meets in a special session in June because of COVID-19 negative impact on the state’s budget.

The district has frozen any hiring for new positions but it plans to continue to fill existing positions that will be vacated when a staff member leaves, Maher said.

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