It’s a Wrap: District 281 Principals Recap First Week of Distance Learning
We’re one week into the new school year and Robbinsdale’s Spanish Immersion School in New Hope looks nothing like what you’d expect from a school with an enrollment of 740 students.
“Who could’ve expected this, right?” said Ken Habel, co-principal of Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School.
“This” is education during a pandemic. More than 600 students at RSIS are at home doing distance learning. Another 122 students are doing distance learning on-site in New Hope because they’re either part of Robbinsdale’s Adventure Club program or they qualified for state-mandated critical childcare.
“We need to celebrate the work that’s been done by our students, by our teachers, by our families, because this is one community,” Habel said.
So far, in this unusual school year, RSIS’s co-principals say they’ve had some technology glitches and a few frustrated parents. But the general sense is one of optimism as they navigate the world of distance learning.
“It’s definitely uncharted territory,” said Alejandra Estrada-Burt, RSIS’s other co-principal. “We’re learning to be very flexible. We’re very thankful for our parents who have been very gracious and flexible as we learn to do this.”
Aside from the challenges posed by technology, the school had to shift some of its staffing to make sure it had enough people in the building to support the childcare needs.
“So that’s been a little bit, just navigating staff that are not usually here at our site, orienting them and making sure they’re comfortable working with our kids. That’s been a top priority of ours,” Estrada-Burt said.
The other top priority is providing a top-quality education in a less-than perfect environment. The eventual hope is that the district will be able to transition to a hybrid model, and, ultimately, get everyone back in the building in a safe way.
“Alejandra and I are extremely proud of our community and how they’ve responded so far,” Habel said. “Every day has gotten better, so we’ll see what happens by June.”