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Class During COVID: West Middleton kindergartners learn with hybrid model

MCPASD K-8 students attend school in-person two days a week.
Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 9:00 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2021 at 10:34 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - For many families, this last month marked a second, first day of school. This time for in-person learning.

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District brought back grades K-4 in February. Each class is split into two groups. Each group attends in-person two days a week.

Cohort A attends school in person, while Cohort B attends virtually.
Cohort A attends school in person, while Cohort B attends virtually.(Leigh Mills, WMTV)

“Welcome to kindergarten!” exclaims Mrs. Amy Blake, as her students arrive for orientation day. “Let’s find our table spot!”

It was the first day the students ever set foot in their elementary school. It was filled with typical first day excitement along with the new normal: masks, social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer.

“The kids are doing just a fabulous job at following the rules,” explains Mrs. Blake, “They know what the expectations are and they have no trouble following them.”

Their morning meeting now includes both the in-person students and those learning at home.

Mrs. Amy Blake teaching a concurrent lesson, working with both the students in her class and...
Mrs. Amy Blake teaching a concurrent lesson, working with both the students in her class and those at home, whom you see on her screen.(Leigh Mills, WMTV)

Mrs. Blake also phased in the same format for their core subjects.

“I had a little bit of anxiety about it just because again, it’s brand new,” she explains, “I’ve never taught like that, but overall I think it’s going great. And it’s a great way for kids on their at-home days to stay engaged in the learning and to feel connected to the classroom.”

Mrs. Blake's kindergarten class takes a dance break in between the morning meeting and their...
Mrs. Blake's kindergarten class takes a dance break in between the morning meeting and their writing lesson.(Leigh Mills, WMTV)

Earlier in the school year Mrs. Blake said writing was the hardest lesson to teach virtually. Now she says she can respond better to their needs in person.

I asked one of the 5-year-old students what he was writing about. “Me going sledding,” replied Vikram Gryzwa. He read the first page of his writing booklet, “First we went sledding. It was super fun!”

“I can see them, I’m able to see their independence, their problem solving, their using of the tools,” explains Mrs. Blake, “It’s just totally different, with writing especially, to be able to see that process instead of just the end product.”

Mrs. Blake's kindergarten students work on a writing assignment.
Mrs. Blake's kindergarten students work on a writing assignment.(Leigh Mills, WMTV)

I asked another 5-year-old student how she feels being back in the class. “Happy,” answered Lauren D’Orazio, “Happy that I get to see my friends and teacher.”

“I just hope that I don’t forget this year. If nothing else, that I just find joy and appreciation of having kids in the classroom with me, with each other, forming these relationships that are challenging to form over zoom,” says Mrs. Blake thoughtfully, “It’s something I previously took for granted.”

MCPASD brought back students in grades 5-8 last week using the same hybrid model.

High schoolers are set to return on March 11.

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