BY MELINDA SKUTNICK
The 2020-2021 school year for Mooresville Graded School District students and parents began much differently than years past as the district opted to provide remote instruction as a precaution against COVID-19.
“Overwhelmingly, our staff, parents and students were positive, understanding and showed much grace,” said MGSD Chief Communications Office Tanae McLean.
In July, MGSD’s Board of Education voted to start the 2020-21 year with Plan C, or remote learning only, for the first nine weeks of classes. August 17 marked the first day of school for all students, including the 300-plus who selected the Mooresville Online Academy for the entirety of the year.
Although the district’s first day started a little rocky due to technical glitches experienced statewide with digital learning programming, McLean noted that those difficulties were overcome and the district’s second day ran “much more smoothly.”
“We know we have a strong remote learning plan in place to begin this year,” she said. “That was made apparent when witnessing some wonderful teaching and learning occurring in our district [Tuesday].”
District parents echoed these remarks, reporting successful first days across various grade levels.
Pam Sherrill, the mother of first- and sixth-grade boys, reported “a positive experience” with online learning.
“It was an easy start to the school year. I did hear there was a statewide glitch, but it wasn’t really significant for my family.”
Sherrill said the glitch simply meant a bit of extra patience for her sixth-grader as he tried to connect. She added that communication about the issues arrived swiftly from the district and his teacher – communication that is vital and flowing very well as everyone adjusts to an online education.
“If the first two days are any indication of how the rest of the quarter will go, I’m happy with online learning,” said Sherrill, noting that her children receive live instruction, live enhancements and the opportunity for tutoring and clubs to keep them connected.
“Both my boys are supported by the teachers at their schools and I think the parent-teacher communication is phenomenal.”
Jessica Brown, whose son Sebastian is a junior at Mooresville HIgh School, agreed.
“His teachers seem to be trying their best and are being more honest and direct with the class than if they were in-person,” she said. “I listened in on a couple classes when I could, and everyone is just trying to do what they can within the parameters set.”
Although Sebastian is missing his friends and the personal interaction of the school setting, Brown said virtual learning is a better option than attending socially distant classes while wearing a mask.
“Because of remote learning, the classes are not as rigorous as they would have been in-person, which bothers me,” she said.
She hopes that MGSD can return to in-person studies in the second quarter.
McLean said the greater MGSD family is what keeps the district going day after day, especially as they embark upon remote learning. “We must say that times like this are always a reminder to be thankful for our MGSD community.”
Sherrill said she appreciates the ways in which the MGSD community is coming together during this challenging educational moment.
“As a former teacher in MGSD, I’m not surprised by the success of the first day or the level of excellence from the teachers,” she said. “I know that MGSD always puts the students’ best interest first and the teachers are 100 percent committed to meeting the needs of all their students. I truly can’t even begin to imagine how difficult this transition must be for the teachers, but the teachers my boys have interacted with have been positive, welcoming, friendly and encouraging.”
“I feel extrememly optimistic about digital learning in MGSD this quarter and beyond, if needed,” she added.