What are schools doing to welcome students back safely for the 2020-21 school year? In this episode of the Supercast, we find out what is going on in schools right now with the installation and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We also offer some tips for parents who are looking to get their students ready for a successful new school year.
It is not the typical summer of rest and relaxation for some middle school students in Jordan School District. That’s because they are immersed in things like abstract reasoning, problem-solving and computer science. In this episode of the Supercast we are going to explore something called the Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP), which is an academically rigorous mathematics-based summer enrichment program. Learn how it gives students an opportunity to start earning college credit at a very young age.
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host superintendent, Anthony Godfrey. It's not a typical summer of rest and relaxation for nearly 100 middle school students at Jordan school district. That's because they are immersed in things like abstract reasoning, problem solving and computer science. In this episode of the Supercast, we're going to explore something called the pre freshmen engineering program or prep, which is an academically rigorous mathematics based summer enrichment program. Find out how this program is giving students the opportunity to earn college credit at a very young age. Our guest today is Stacy Pierce who started the prep program for students in Jordan school district. Stacy, thanks for joining us. Glad to be here. It's a Jordan prep is the first program that you are the first person I highlighted with the board. Uh, as superintendent, I get to do a little superintendent highlight at the beginning of the meeting, and I think it was maybe two weeks before my first meeting. I saw you the culminating event for Jordan crap last summer. And I bumped the person I already had scheduled. And I put you on the agenda just because I was so impressed with your program. So thanks for talking about it today on the
No, I loved it. Thank you for inviting me back.
Tell us just an overview of what Jordan prep is about.
No, I'd be happy to. So Jordan prep is a program that targets under underrepresented students. Um, so we start with recruiting students from the sixth grade. We don't talk to parents. We only talk to students. So the students self-select for this program and they enter in sixth grade and now believe it or not, they're going to exit in 12th grade. But at the time we started recruiting last year, it was a three year program. They invest six weeks of their summer vacation and they choose to do it to study logic, physics, computer science, engineering, statistics, algebraic structures, computer programming, and technical writing. And we are in our third year of this program for the Jordan school district. And we're the only school district in the nation with this program. Now this program has been around 40 years, but in general, it's supported by colleges, not by school districts. So it's a very, very exciting program. We love it. And we're doing it online this year and believe it or not, we love it online. So that's Jordan prep.
I'm really interested in, in hearing how it has transitioned to online, uh, the online experience. But, um, one of the things I thought was particularly impressive about the program as you described, it is the number of guest speakers that you involve to inspire the kids and give them some vision for what they can do with their lives.
I'll tell you the guest speakers this year have been knocking out of the ballpark, but every single year I say that. So we try to get a representative population of career speakers. So there are a very diverse population of career speakers, men, women of all ethnic diversity, um, to come and speak to our students. And when we're live, we do it every single day. And when we aren't live, then we we've done it twice a week. Um, and believe it or not, it's been as effective online Edison as it has been in person. So these speakers come from all areas of STEM. They come from medicine, they come from the natural sciences. They come from engineering. Um, we've had ornithologists come and bring a Peregrine Falcon. We've had bat specialists come and bring that little itty bitty schools. We've had, um, engineering from every single discipline. We have the university of Utah games, masters program professor coming this week. We've had presidents of companies. We've had lawyers, we've had bankers, um, from every discipline that touches on STEM. We've had common inspire our students. It's a big part of the program. Probably hard work is the first, the biggest part of the program. And right next to it would be those career speakers and our teachers and our teaching assistants, inspiring our students and coming from a very diverse background.
Why do you think it's so important for them to hear from people who have found success?
Well, the number one thing that I think is they not just talk about their success, but they talk about their failures. They talk about their challenges. Um, they talk about their struggles and a lot of these students have all of the above. So our last speaker was a lawyer and a student asked, have you ever, did you ever think about quitting law school? And she said, every single day does that. But the thing that inspired me was something very negative. Somebody said something, somebody said to me and it rang in my head every single day. And I said, now, wait a minute. I am smart. I do deserve this because I work hard. And so every single speaker brings that to the table for our students. Um, not just their success and what their career looks like today, but how they got there and their journey.
I love that when I sensed from the kids, when I saw the culminating event, you expect a lot of them.
I do. I do. I just, uh, I mean, unfortunately fortunately, because sometimes our hardest life experiences bring us the farthest. Um, I just put six kids on probation, right? So this online school, I should just be grateful that they show up, but that's not good enough expected to keep up with their work. They're still expected to be on time every day, they're expected to be participating and they have to be on their cameras. So we have to see their faces every day so that we get a chance to build that tribe. So my expectations haven't lowered the summer. In fact, maybe they've hired, right? So these kids need to push through this it's midterms and we'll be at the end of the program and just two weeks. And I think every single one of them will meet those high expectations, but we're not lowering our expectations just because it's online. They know it, they sign up to it, believe it or not rising to the occasion, just like they did before.
Well, it's the best example I can think of, of how high expectations brings the best out in students. Uh, because implicit in that is that you believe in them.
We do, we absolutely do. We had one student show up today and he stayed online with all the teachers. I said, are you comfortable talking to all of us? And he said, he said, yeah, I want to know if the reason you're kicking me out of Jordan prep is because of football. And I said, no, absolutely not. You're not on time. You missed and you're missing assignments and I need you to be the very best version of yourself. And I believe you can, you're not kicked out of Jordan prep. You're given an opportunity to become the best version of yourself that you possibly can. I know you can do it. All of these TA's know you can do it. We're here for you. You just tell us what we have to do to help you be successful. Cause we know you can. So yeah, that's what we do.
It's obvious they get the message. I can't think of a more inspiring meeting I've been in with teachers and students interacting. And, um, it was just really apparent to me that you had made a permanent impact in their lives.
Well, we ended that conversation with, um, you know, we love you and, and you said, thanks for being the best. And I know that on Monday, every single one of his assignments will be done because we truly care about these kids and they know we love them and it's through love and holding those expectations high that I believe that these kids are going to change the world. I truly believe that
I don't doubt it for a second. Tell me more about the rest of the staff.
Oh, I'd be happy to. So I try very, very hard to have my staff, um, be as diverse as my population is as my population of students are. So I have an amazing staff, um, of both teachers and teaching assistants, the teaching assistants generally come from the college population. So these are young people that, um, bond so closely with these students. I have an engineering student from salt Lake community college. Um, he just graduated from salt Lake community college and on one of our field trips to merit medical, we're able to provide him with a job. So now on the weekends, he works at merit medical, well the week, thank heavens he works for, for us. And he's a young, Hispanic man named Renee. And we all hope and pray that he doesn't become an, an engineer that he actually becomes an educator instead of becoming an engineer.
There's no question about it, but someday I do think he'll return to the world of education because he is such a powerful influence on our students. Um, in addition, we have two, two Hispanic teachers, mr. [inaudible], mr. [inaudible], mr. Baez was the teacher of the year at Jordan, um, at Western junior high or middle school. And he's a phenomenal problem solving teacher, but all of our teachers are absolutely amazing. And all of our teaching assistants are absolutely amazing and they're such an inspiration to the students and there's nothing that they won't do for these students. They're incredible.
Well, great people get attracted to a great program like that and the chance to really make a difference in the lives of students. Speaking of that, um, you talked earlier about hoping that Renee stays an educator instead of becoming an engineer and you did things in the opposite order.
Yeah, I do. I do think that Renee will go into engineering as I did. And I spent 30 years in the world of engineering. Um, I was a principal engineering manager at a company called Rockwell Collins, formerly Evans and Sutherland. And we worked on flight simulators. We worked on flight simulators for the military, as well as the commercial airlines. And, um, it was a phenomenal career. I, there wasn't a day that I didn't enjoy myself in a day. I didn't learn something, but when my father passed away, um, he was an educator and he was an educator on the Navajo reservation. I decided that it was time to become an educator myself. I had an education degree in math, computer science and statistics, but I never used it until 30 years later. And that's when I joined, uh, the field of education and was fortunate enough to get a job at West Jordan middle school. But I always knew that I wanted to start a program to help underrepresented students, um, and pave their path to careers in STEM. So I found the prep program and brought it to Jane Harward and she found the funding from Boeing. And here we are, we have five additional years of funding from merit medical, and we just won a national science foundation grant to extend it through high school. So it's been a dream come true.
You've had donors dying to be a part of this that have, uh, really wanted to be associated with this program after they see what a great impact it has on students.
Right? So, um, to quote Fred Lampropoulos, he said, this is my hood. These are my students. I'll do anything I can to support this program. So there's a real bonding to our neighborhood, our family, our tribe. And when you have a program that has the magic components that make students want to literally give up their summer and not hang out with their friends for six weeks, but study math, that's insane. Who does that? Right? And we don't ever talk to a parent until the, the mandatory meeting. We never speak to a parent. These kids are the ones who want to better their lives and better the lives of their families.
It's empowering. And it's focused on students beginning to end.
Right? Exactly. Hopefully, um, we'll be able to get very close to an associate's degree in technical engineering. Now, by the time they finish high school, so they're on their way, their path is paved. They've got the analytical skills, the problem solving skills to, like I said, to truly make a difference in this world. These are the kids they're going to solve the COBIT problem. These are the kids that are going to solve the rest of the problems that are out there that yet need to be solved.
Absolutely. Right. And when you see that you've been underserved, but now you prove yourself in a program like this, nothing is too daunting.
Nothing is too daunting. There's nothing, these students can't do
Stay with us. When we come back, what parents need to know about getting their students involved in prep.
Do you want to know what's going on in Jordan school district, get updates on the latest information that could impact you and your child, or just find an uplifting story about the good things happening in schools throughout the district, check out our email@example.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter at Jordan district. Let's come out.
Stacy, what role do parents play? I know that you don't talk with parents immediately when students are signing up for the program, but what do they ultimately, what part do parents ultimately play in student success?
You know, there's no way, um, that students can be successful in Jordan prep without that parental support. So historically the parent's responsibility was to make sure that the students had a ride to Jordan prep and a ride home. And if they didn't, we tap into the village and find them a ride to prep and a ride home, but they also have to encourage the students to make sure that their work is done and make sure that they, they are loving and supporting them and encouraging them to stay up on their work. Um, in addition, a lot of students need to take care of their little brothers and sisters during the summer. And that means that the responsibility is back on the parents to find additional support for those little brothers and sisters. Now, with it being online, the parents need to provide a quiet environment.
We did provide heads headphones with microphones that's for each student, but the distractions can be great. And the parents have been wonderful at eliminating those distractions. We've had grandmothers sit in their classes with their students all day long. It's been absolutely beautiful to watch that, you know, a grandma of, one of our Polynesian students just learning right alongside of him and enjoying the program right alongside of him. It's been absolutely beautiful. Um, so the parents are critical part of prep. And when we have the unfortunate situation where we have to put a kid on probation and encourage them to catch up and continue to be a part of the program, it's the parents that come and say, thank you. We support you. We understand you're not going to lower those standards and we don't want you to. So we've had phenomenal support, even in those difficult situations from our parents. They're just amazing. We've had mothers go back to school and finish their high school degree because their children are in prep and they want to show their parents, their children that they want to go learn, and they want to go better themselves to encourage their students to continue and be an example to them. So it's kind of a full circle situation with parents. Believe it or not a full circle where the students are doing something really hard and encourages their parents to go do something really hard and make their students proud of them.
The impact can be immediate in a lot of ways.
It really can. It absolutely.
When you presented to the board, there were some stunning statistics that you cited about what happens when someone goes into the prep program. And I'm not going to ask you to come up with those off the top of your head, but really students who would have very little chance statistically of graduating from college, suddenly going through this program have a very high chance of graduating from college and well beyond.
Oh, absolutely. I actually, I can kind of quote those two. So with the population that we serve and the population that we serve is, um, over 50% minority, over 50% girls, 71% are on free lunch. So they L they are low income. And 68% of the students do not have a parent who either graduated from high school and, or went to college. So that's our demographics. So with that demographic, you would expect 15% of these students to go to college and less than 5% of them to actually graduate. So the prep program did not start with Jordan prep. It started 40 years ago in Texas, and they've gathered those statistics. And it turns out that the kids that are willing to invest their summers, and that means that they're not losing their skills over the summer. They're gaining their mathematical ability. 90% of prep students go to college have that 90% that go to college, 68% graduate from college and have that 68%, 64% actually take the difficult path in my opinion, which is to graduate in a STEM career.
Now of that 68%, 57% are minority and 64% are girls. So if you think about this 40 years ago, girls pursuing degrees in STEM. That's unheard of. So, um, the statistics statistics are what drew me to this program. I spent six months studying STEM programs that were out there deciding if I wanted to join an existing program, which is always better because you don't spend the money creating it or start a new program. And there was no reason to start a new program. This program had the success, success statistics. That made sense that I wanted to be a part of
It's staggering, how, uh, this reverses the pattern and changes lives that we know otherwise may not have access to the resources that they now see as something that is within their grasp.
Absolutely. So these kids, these kids, the second they joined the program, they know what they're a part of and what they're a part of is a path to success. And that is probably why we have only lost one student from our third year class. So of all the students that joined us the first year, we've only lost one student. And that was because of extracurricular activities. Um, they just decided, and, and by the that's beautiful, right, that pillar activities would not allow them to focus enough on the program to be successful in both. And, um, totally IX, totally understandable, totally supported, supportive of that student's decision. Um, but students want to better their futures and they want to better the futures of their family. And they know that this program has all of the key components to help them.
Are there specific stories you could tell us about individual students?
Oh, absolutely. So our first year, and I get so teary eyed, every time I tell this, but, um, a student lost her father and we only allow three absences in the summer. So we always tell the students that you can always go to school, but you can't always be a part of prep to be a part of prep. You can miss three times, that's it. So if you feel like you need to go on a week, as long as I can. So this isn't the program for you because you're not going to be able to come back. After that week long vacation, we just cover too much material every single day. But we had one of our first year, the first year, we had a little girl who lost her father from brain cancer. And, um, of course we told her that she is more than welcome to miss as long as she needs to miss in order to help her through that time.
But two days later, not three, two days later, she was back and I'm back as one of our strongest students. And she's still with us today. Um, there are, there are, there are so many stories of the resilience of these students and their commitment to this program and, and their ability to bounce back. Some from some things that I could never have bounced back from that age. Um, we had a student that left because medical reasons to go back to Taiwan for medical treatment for a year, she came back this year, um, and she's on her way moving to South Carolina. But every morning her parents wait until prep is over and then they get back on the road. And then the next morning they're in a different hotel and they wait until prep is over and they're back on the road. So she didn't just say, I'm sorry, I'm moving to South Carolina. She made sure in her parents made sure that she could continue to be successful in our program. So true resilience from these kids. They, they touch my heart every single day.
It just, it's impossible for me to describe how proud I am of the work that you're doing and how thrilled I am to have you in Jordan district.
Well, we couldn't do it without your support. So thank you so much for being supportive of, of a program that, that, um, that is my dream come true and is definitely changing the lives of our students. When I first
Met you, our students in Jordan prep made so much progress in the program. There wasn't anywhere for them to go next. They go back into regular programs and there wasn't a next step. Isn't that true?
That is so true. And so now we're so grateful that, um, last year after our closing ceremony that you came to, and we're so grateful that you were there also the, the head of the engineering department at salt Lake community college was also in attendance. And I had been courting him for four years when I came to work for Jordan school district, I wanted to start the program with salt Lake community college because that's the natural fit. Sure. Um, he, he, they were in, in flux of, of leadership at that time and it didn't work out. And, um, but after he sat through that closing ceremony and looked into the faces of our students and the diversity and the population of our students and the family, and really got to fill our tribe, uh, he came back and said, let's write a grant together for national science foundation and extend this through high school.
Because when with, without that ladder for the kids to climb, there's a possibility we'll lose a few. There is always a possibility we'll lose a few. Sure. And so we wrote a grant with salt Lake community college, and believe it or not, the first day of online prep, we found out that we had received that grant with salt Lake community college. So now our students, um, will extend to a fourth year in the summer and do a capstone pro project of their choosing. And then their junior and senior years, there'll be over on the salt Lake community college campus, taking college classes and graduating with at least their certification, if not their associates degree in engineering technology. And that particular degree feeds into Weaver, state university, manufacturing, engineering seamlessly, and they'll also graduate with a small scholarship to help them continue their education and the ability to make money decent money while they're going to college. So it's a, it's a beautiful transition we have now.
So how many students are currently involved?
Believe it or not. We have 96 students online this summer. And, um, and we, we had to pay for a zoom, a professional zoom license that will handle 500 because there's 100 and 500. Um, and they are all online. They are all on their cameras. We see their beautiful faces every single day. And with my staff and with the speakers, we're well over a hundred and our closing ceremony, we'll invite grandparents, we'll invite aunts and uncles, and we hope to use all 500 spots for our closing ceremony.
Well, please reserve one for me.
You got it. Of course.
I would love to be a part of that again. I don't think I'll ever miss it again.
Well, thank you so much. We don't ever want to miss it again.
Tell me what was the transition to doing this online? Like,
Oh, it was, it was, it was very interesting. So every single prep program in the nation, um, did their own thing. So we had a choice and I felt very privileged that I had been able to do online teaching prior to making the decision of what prep would look like. And so as an online teacher, um, I taught a normal class three times a day. Once during the time slot, I was allotted and two in the evening for those students that had to go to work. And what I found is that I had students that were coming to all three classes, even though they knew the answers the very first class of the day, and they were doing it for the social interaction. And so I knew that we had to keep that component in prep. So what we do is we do online teaching live for 30 minutes, and then we have a social engagement for 30 minutes and then back to online teaching for 30 minutes.
And none of it is optional. So what happens during the socialist? They'll bring their pets to school, have spirit days where they have funky hats or funky socks, or we say, I spy with my little eye, something in your background that helps us get to know you better. So, um, so the social engagement and the building of the tribe is still in effect and building those relationships cause they don't come from one school. They come from all of our title, one schools. And so we have to be able to build those relationships and then learn. And they say that you learn 75% faster if you're actually having fun. And so that's the fun component of prep that we've been able to maintain. And then on Fridays, we go on virtual field trips because we can't go on real field trips. So we go on virtual field trips with the component of our program. That is gratitude. We write, thank you notes to our speakers. They can also write thank you notes to their family or to one of the teachers who TA's. So we've kept the component of gratitude alive. And then we do robots. We do, we built robots the rest of the time and they struggle building those robots and they learn through that struggle. So we've kept all of the components of prep, the hard work, the inspiration, the fun, the building of the tribe and the gratitude all alive,
What an incredible program. That's fantastic. Um, maybe, uh, maybe you could read the sentence that you have posted up behind you of learning things about you, um, from your background mathematics, the mathematics quote, uh, strikes me there
So I could click search and then I select quotes for them to decorate my classroom the first year that I was a teacher. And I thought, even on those bad days, I can look at these pictures of nature and these inspirational quotes and I'll be okay. One says mathematics is not only for solving numbers. It's for dividing, sorrow, subtracting sadness, adding happiness and multiplying love and forgiveness.
Well, I think that's a great summary of what happens in Jordan prep.
I do too.
Hey, Stacy, I've heard tell of a swag wagon. Tell me about that.
Well, industry is very kind to us as well as business businesses. And once you tell them the story of Jordan prep, they've been incredibly generous and we always have a swag table and we reward kindness. We reward our student of the week. We reward the best note taking for the week, but this year we can't have a swag table. So I made my cry into a swag wagon and every window of my car has words, such as prep strong. So our logo this year are our slogan is prep strong because it's difficult to go to prep online. And instead of little gears, we have little COVID viruses on our T shirts on my car. Um, it says, uh, Jordan's wagon. It says prep strong. It says, believing yourself. It says computer science, statistics, physics. So every window is decorated. And I drive up to the houses and I interrupt the students from class.
And those students that have been selected by their TAs and their teachers come out and select something from the swag and the Jordan wagon, a lot of fun to visit those students at home. In fact, you should come some day. It is a treat to visit their homes and see how much pride their parents have and their brothers and sisters have. They all run out of the house and there's three doors worth of swag that they have to weed through and select what it is that they want. Um, I had one student yesterday who would not leave class. His brother kept saying somebody at the door for you, somebody set the door for you. And he would not leave class Pierce requires that he leaves class and he's the student of the week. So it's a lot of fun. This wagon has been just a lot of fun.
That's amazing. I would love to join the Swagman. Let me know. I'll, uh, I'll hit the road with you. Thank you so much for spending time with and for the wonderful things you do for our kids.
Well, thank you and thank you for your support. And I'm grateful to my amazing staff and my amazing students.
Please thank everyone for me. And I will definitely be there for graduation.
Perfect. I'll send you an invite right away.
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. And remember education is the most important thing you'll do today, even though it's summer, we'll see out there.
An enormous amount of work is underway as we prepare to reopen after schools were dismissed last March due to the pandemic. On this episode of the Supercast, hear about the unique and unprecedented plan for meal service, deep cleaning and sanitizing in our schools as we make every effort to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host superintendent, Anthony Godfrey. Today, we're talking about the enormous amount of work that is underway. As we prepare to reopen schools this fall, after they were dismissed last March due to the pandemic, we know that there is a lot yet to be decided, but we would like parents, students, and employees to know about the unique and unprecedented plan for deep cleaning sanitizing and providing meal service in our schools. As we make every effort to keep students, teachers, and staff as safe as possible. We're going to start by speaking with the director of custodial and energy services. Steve peered, Steve. Welcome. Thank you. You've been on the show before when you come on one more time. You're considered friend of the show. So welcome.
Uh, I know that you're doing a lot of work preparing for the fall, and we just want to talk with you about, uh, some of the cleaning and disinfecting procedures that will be in place. Some of the equipment that we've purchased to help keep schools as clean as possible in the fall. Now, I would note that in the spring there was, uh, the ability while students were not in school to do a lot of the deep cleaning that normally would happen over the summer. And, uh, from my understanding, we've been able to catch up on a lot of work orders, uh, during that time. Is that correct? Yes, it is. Yeah, I haven't, um, relatively two extra months of summer cleaning, um, not entirely, um, totally summer cleaning because there were still people occupying the buildings, but it still gave us a time to go through, um, the classrooms additional, um, thoroughness in the cleaning and disinfecting, um, all the desks and stuff were, were cleaned and disinfected. Um, you know, just we're able to use that time for, for getting ready to come back to school. And there was a lot to do, but there was also some additional time to, to get checked, take some things off the, to do list. Yes. Tell us about the equipment that has been purchased for the fall. The board approved some additional equipment for each building. Okay. We, um, have purchased, um, some sprayers that will enable us to go through and spray each area down. Those can be used for, um,
After school. They're not, not necessarily for during the day or for when students are present that kind of thing. And, um, you might've heard that they're called, they've been called misters. They've been called foggers. Um, it's just a way of dispensing disinfectant and being able to get into areas that you couldn't normally get into. Um, with hand wiping,
I was in a zoom focus group meeting with fifth graders, and I described how we have a machine that uses fog to clean playground equipment because they wanted to be sure they were able to still go out to recess. And one fifth grader asked. So does it create a fog around the whole playground that just kind of stays there? So we'd be playing in the fog. And I explained to him that, no, this is, it just sends the cleaner around the, uh, the surface. And I'm really excited about having that, um, that, that equipment, that means that we would have one per school. Is that correct?
Yeah, there would be, um, at least one per school. Um, once all the equipment arrives, there should be at least one per school. Some of the larger buildings are going to have moldable pieces of equipment because, um, they are going to need to, to do sports equipment in between uses, um, some of those kinds of things they will need to be, be doing. Um, multiple times a day. This will also enable, um, a head custodian or somebody to go into a restroom, which in the past the restrooms have been cleaned, afterschool, cleaned, and disinfected after school that will continue to happen, but there might be times where they need to go in multiple times and just do a quick disinfectant and for the restroom, um, during the day
That will increase the efficiency with which custodian can disinfect surfaces even during the day.
Yeah. An example of that is, um, if you were to go down and, and wiped down, completely wiped down a restroom with a Reagan, um, that it might take you a half an hour, 45 minutes, depending on the size of the restroom, where if you go in and you spray, um, you can still cover the area in just a few minutes.
Now I understand that we are looking at using a disinfectant that you don't necessarily wipe away, but that you spray on and that stays on the surface and actually can last for quite a long time.
Uh, we are in the, in the process that that particular disinfectant, um, is in the process of getting an EPA number. We, um, which that's a, uh, a huge process that they have to go through to get certified by the EPA saying that, um, and it'll, it'll be specific for, um, dwell times for how long for what type of surfaces it's good for, for what type of viruses or bacteria is that it's good for. And they're in the process of getting that, um, and that should be happening in the next week or so
Am I correct that this is supposed to last up to 30 days?
That's, that's what, um, the company and the chemists are, are saying that it will last up to 30 days. Um, you know, I'm ho I'm hoping that the EPA comes out and, and agrees with them. Cause if that's the case, then, then that will also help.
It would make surfaces a less hospitable environment for the virus to,
Yeah, I'm assuming that, that we get the EPA approval on this kind of what our, our initial plan is, is to go through and missed all of the classrooms and that the schools, um, once a week for the first month, then every other week for the second month. And then Ben will go to the once a month later on.
I love that you're looking for additional ways to disinfect beyond the normal routine that we will continue to keep in place. Now, Steve I've visited the warehouse. I've seen the tall shelves and the big boxes. We have lots of paper towels, lots of disinfectant, lots of supplies. Okay.
Yes. Yeah. We have, we've ordered truckloads of, of those supplies. Um, we're anticipating in accelerated use. As people start to clean desk, more often as, um, they wash their hands more. We are planning on going through additional paper towels. And so, uh, Matt, um, this year compared to a normal year,
Now, you guys work very hard to be behind the scenes and not to disrupt what's going on during the day. So many people may not realize just how much cleaning is going on in the building.
Yeah, the best time to clean is when people aren't in the building. So if we can come in after school and clean, um, we're not disrupting classes, it's hard to clean to vacuum around a class. So you do that after, when nobody's around. Um, same with restrooms. Um, the best time to clean is when people aren't aren't around
And with the additional disinfecting cleaning that will be going on during the day as well. They may see more of the custodian during the day, but, uh, it's just a good reminder that there's a lot going on behind the scenes that we may not be aware of. Yes. Now the schedule we will be on in the fall was not designed around, uh, custodial services. It was designed around, um, providing time for teachers to structure individual learning for students on Fridays, without students in the building on Fridays that does create some additional space for custodians to either catch up on some of the maintenance work that may need to be done, um, that they had to put off because of disinfecting that they did during the week when students are there. But at the very least, it allows some space for a deep clean and just for some other things to happen, uh, at a custodial level.
Yeah, we're, we're planning on using Fridays for like, like he said, for maintenance, for, um, doing a deep clean. One of the drawbacks of using a lot of disinfectant is it can have a buildup that become sticky that needs to be removed so that we can start fresh for the next week so that we don't end up with this, that have sticky disinfectant on them. Um, and that that's all stuff that we'll, we'll be doing on these Fridays.
Great. Well, thanks for everything you're doing to prepare. I know you've been very hard at work nonstop a while. You're always hard at work, but especially ever since this started and, uh, I just really appreciate your expertise and support in preparing our schools for the fall.
Okay. Well, thank you. I appreciate that and appreciate everything that the school administration.
Now, we wanted to talk with some custodians out in the field about what they're seeing and doing. We're speaking now with Mark Nelson, the head custodian for the building here at the district office. So Mark and I get to see each other on a regular basis, or we used to much less. So now with, uh, the soft dismissal, how are you doing Mark? I'm doing great today. How about you superintendent? I'm doing great. Thanks for joining us here. We're still social distancing for this interview over Google meet. Tell us you have been a custodian in the district for how long? Well, um, if you count my sweeper years, I've been here. This is my 33rd year. So Cindy lopper was topping the charts when you started with Jordan school district probably had her in my, uh, my Walkman and as I did my route each night, yes.
Well, within your years of experience, have you ever seen anything like this from a cleaning and preparation standpoint? No, this is as intense as it gets and we, we care about these. We love these kids. We love our staffs, their family, their friends, their neighbors, you know, um, to be a custodian you've got to care. I know you're also very aware of what's happening out in the schools because your staff helps out in schools when there's a, when there's a shortage when we need some additional coverage. Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah. So we're always doing what we can and, uh, borrowing staff. Tell me some of the things that you have seen that are being done to increase the level of cleaning and disinfecting that's happening in building. I think we, we do a great job. We, we train the same. Every, every school has the same training.
All the things that we do, um, in one building would be done the same in another building because of the training. But as Cobra took over, we've had to up that. And I'm here at the district office. I've always cleaned restrooms every two hours because we do not have enough restrooms for all the public and staff that come and use our restrooms. Well, now we're into checking them hourly to make sure things are getting done. Touchpoints are crazy. We, anywhere you can think someone touches. If someone stands at your door, they're putting their hands on your doorframe. We watched wash doorframes, we hit the handles, the drinking fountains, the front doors. It's almost like I could just pop them open and leave them open all day. Cause that's just something we have to hit all day long. And that's something that many people may not realize, just how well a custodian gets to know their building and how familiar they become with those touch points.
They know where it gets dirty. They know where people's hands are and they're able to focus on those areas to be sure that they're disinfecting. Yeah. And then yes. And then behind the scenes, um, we're changing filters more regularly. Jordan has an amazing HPAC staff. Um, the guys over there have helped us with so many things, but we maintain a higher level of filtration on our, our, uh, HVC units throughout our district. Um, we're making sure those are changed more often over the last 32 years. I'll tell you, custodial has gone from whatever you feel like cleaning and how you used to do it from learning from your grandmother or your mother or whoever to know there are best practices. It is. It's a very structured environment. We work in. We want people to feel safe in our buildings. We want everyone to feel like where they have to spend their day and work and deal with the public and help the public.
That it is a, is a good location to be, and they feel well, thanks for everything you do, Mark. You're a great support here. And I know to the schools as you and your staff work to support them as well. And, uh, you're one of the few people I talked to who's, uh, who's been here as long as you have, so yeah, no problem. We're speaking out with Jared Sprague. I've known Jared for a long time and members of his family for a long time. Uh, it seems his whole family works for Jordan school district. It has for a long time, we did the earlier Supercast with your brother as we, uh, let me ride the Zamboni and Queensland floors. It's a fun mission as a fun machine. Hey, thanks for joining us today. I know you're really busy. We just want to talk about some of the additional measures that custodians are taking in our schools. First of all, how long have you been a custodian and Jordan school district?
I'm going on my 20th year with a Jordan school district and enjoyed every minute of it.
Well, we, we love having you and we love having your family, a part of Jordan district. Um, have you ever seen anything like this?
I haven't, this is a different challenge, um, uh, made, uh, different, uh, openings for us, look at what we should do and where we should go with that. I have not seen anything like this in the Jordan district or anywhere I've been. So
Can you describe for parents and employees who are listening some of the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting that will be happening in the fall?
Um, yeah, we, uh, we were, uh, one of the fortunate schools to have before this whole thing hit the ground, um, to have one of those electric static guns that we have looked to, that the board has approved to purchase to help us out. Um, those electrostatic guns we used to, uh, you know, go in periodically daily a couple times and, um, did some disinfecting, but now that our assault pandemic is hit, we are doing more. So, um, you know, we've gotten our high schools where they are out and doing and dealing with all the sports and these sporting activities and the kids gets back, you know, we're getting ready for their games and stuff like that, but they've enhanced the cleaning in the restrooms to hourly and more frequently if needed. Um,
Those are sometimes referred to as misters or fathers that distribute the disinfectant in a way that wraps around the surface that is being disinfected.
Yes. Yes. So, but yeah, great deals. Okay.
What are some of the other things that are being done and then we'll be done in the fall to help make sure that things are cleaned and disinfected for students. Once we get everybody back in the building,
We are, uh, taking, uh, measures to go in. Like I said, the restrooms hourly and disinfect them with that ex uh, electrostatic. Again, we, um, in our restrooms, we have gone and we are starting to look at measures to cut down the traffic by every other, um, urinal or, um, brush, you know, uh, toilet in the bathrooms. But, uh, I've gotten to where we were going into classrooms and we will be just infecting more frequently throughout the day. Um, keeping teachers full of chemicals and keeping them stocked on the, uh, chemicals and towels and stuff that they need to keep them. Um, it's a little bit of everything. Uh, lockers were, uh, it sounds like we might look into keeping those more disinfected more frequently throughout the day with those MREs, um, lunch rooms, uh, constantly keeping those clean and walking behind kids and find, you know, our problem areas and focusing on those, it's a big responsibility bigger than ever.
How does it feel to have that responsibility for all of the employees and students in that building? You know, I think a lot of us custodians take a lot of pride in what we do. We, um, enjoy being around the kids and the staff and the students, the patrons, you know, we look to protect them in health and safety and, uh, even more so in this day, in this time, um, you know, it's, it's what we live for and it's what we, why are we are where we are and what we do. Um, like I said, I just really enjoy doing what I do and, and yeah, it's one to protect them as if it was one of our own kids. You know, my kid is a kid in Jordan school district and, uh, you know, it worries me every day. And so I, I treat it as if it is my kid, there it is my kid going.
And so it makes me feel good to know that things are being taken care of and cleaned up. And the she'll be safe when she returns to school. Well, I sincerely appreciate the efforts that you and custodians throughout the district are making. And I have a high level of confidence in your work and just how conscientious you are and how much you care about taking care of everybody in the building. Thank you. We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, find out what meal service will look like in our schools. This fall,
I'm Steven Hall, director of Jordan education foundation in today's challenging and uncertain times. It is more important than ever before to support one another here at the Jordan education foundation, we invite you to join us in making sure children are not going hungry. Your $10 donation to the foundation will help us feed one student for a weekend. When food and meals may be very scarce for some, with food and hygiene supplies and the principal's pantries at Jordan school districts being depleted and in higher demand than ever before. Every financial contribution made will help us to keep the pantries filled for students who would otherwise go without the Jordan education foundation exists due to the generosity of people who care about kids. If you would like to donate to help children from going hungry, please visit Jordan education, foundation.org, or contact the foundation at (801) 567-8125. Thank you together. We can make a difference
With us now on the Supercast Jana Cruz, the director of Nutrition services. Jana. Welcome. Thank you. I know a lot of people are asking questions about what things will look like in the fall. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the changes I've read over your plan? And I know that you've thought through every detail as usual about what this will look like and what will need to be done to provide lodge safely and, um, in a way that that works for the conditions that we'll be working under, uh, in the fall.
Yes. Um, you know, our efforts will, of course continue to ensure safe and healthy meals that meet the needs of our students. Um, all of our meals, we'll, uh, we'll start up this year, having all the meals be self contained. So they'll also be grab and go, um, you know, breakfast in a sack. All the lunches will be in a self contained styrofoam container with a closed lid. Um, you know, first and foremost, they'll be grab and go to ensure student safety. So all they have to do is pick up a mail, not touch anything else. Um, and secondly, it will also free up some of our teams out in the schools so that those team members can be assisting in other ways, um, with assuring that students sanitize their hands, uh, as they enter lunch service lines, and as they leave the cafeterias, um, helping assist with kind of the overall efficiency of the flow of lines, uh, assist with some social distancing that will need to take place.
And that's been a question for some people, how are you going to maintain social distancing and not have the line go a mile down the road? And that's part of it is that we'll be able to move kids through more rapidly because of the way you've structured a meal distribution. Yeah.
Yes. We believe with the grab and go meals. Um, it will be an extremely efficient process. So all the students will do is enter the line. The lines will be marked clearly with signs, social distancing markers on the floor. Um, and then they'll just need to pick up a styrofoam container. And then when they go by the point of sale, um, they will just have their student ID card out and it will be scanned quickly by a lunch clerk or a cashier. Um, so that there's no contact, no touching key pads. And yes, we believe the lines will flow very efficiently.
Grab your meal, scan your card. Yes. Have a seat. He head out to the playground or head back to class, whichever. Yeah.
Oh, we forgot and sanitize your hands. One more time before you head back to the classroom or out to the playground
On your way in and on your way out.
Now what about some of the salad bar options? The self-serve options are the changes being made there.
We will open up again with only self-contained meals, so no salad bars or no buffet type meal service at all. And then, um, as soon as we move forward, uh, we kind of had thought in our own department, we will revisit or be prepared for around Thanksgiving time to, um, make decisions that are applicable for what is happening around us.
Right. We're going to have to adjust these plans out the year. And I think part of the stress is just anticipating the school year coming. We don't know exactly what it will be like. This is something we've never done before. It's another phase. And so I'm actually very eager to see how things go and then make adjustments as necessary. But I appreciate how thorough and in depth you've been in preparing for this.
Thank you. Um, I work with a wonderful team and I agree with you. Um, I think as always the greatest stress in all this is the worrying and the planning. It will be nice to move forward and just get, get the job done in the best way. We all know how
I really have thought of every detail. When I read over the plan, we talked about the self serve and the, the face style and salad bars, not being in place in the same way they were, uh, you're even going to be handing a milk to a student. I am putting in, I'm putting it on their, uh, putting it on their containers so that they aren't reaching in for their own milk. And what are the milk choices? Just for those listening, who may not know
There's white milk and, uh, to start out, they'll just be white and chocolate. We'll probably take strawberry off the menu just to kind of streamline things, a little knowing that it will go back on the menu as soon as we can reasonably do that,
Adjusting to the grab and go format like you had to in the spring. Are there any new menu items that, uh, students can expect to see? And are there any old favorites that may have to wait to return to the menu?
Well, um, they, the menus will look very similar to what we always do. Um, there will be some Ella cart type items still, of course, a favorites, chicken nuggets, um, chicken ring things, um, sprint fries, but there will, of course be a lot of our totally homemade options that students are used to Intralot is lasagna, mashed potatoes and gravy and Turkey. Um, so the only thing that will change due to the efficiency and the speed that these lines need to flow, the lunch lines need to flow our, uh, secondary schools that normally run anywhere from seven to nine lines. We will cut those lines down to four choices and those choices, the at each site will choose from patterns that we offer them to, um, uh, include what they feel are the best four choices each day for their student body. Um, and we're doing that again. So we know that we need to pull some of those staff members that would normally run lines off to do other tasks, to assure students are sanitizing correctly, to assure some social persistency, to keep Weinstock, you know, with the meal containers. Um, so we believe, uh, we can run in the secondaries three to four lines depending on the size of this school and do so efficiently.
I love the way you're restructuring things. It makes a lot of sense. Now, let me go back. Are the chicken ring things, the actual technical term?
It is, that's actually what's on the purchase order and it's a Tyson product very popular.
Well, when I get the chance, I'm going to go out and try some chicken rings because they sound like something I'm, I'm, uh, well, I'm thrilled with, uh, the hard work you've put into planning for the fall. I have total confidence in the work that you and your staff are doing. And, um, I know that students are looking forward to coming back and having those great meals in the cafeteria and seeing their friends and nutrition services.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Stay with us when we come back, we'll talk about the lengths Jordan school district is going to, to purchase personal protective equipment for employees.
Do you want to know what's going on in Jordan school district, get updates on the latest information that could impact you and your child, or just find an uplifting story about the good things happening in schools throughout the district, check out our firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter at Jordan district. Let's connect
This segment of the Supercast. We're happy to welcome our director of purchasing Kurt. Thanks for joining us. My pleasure. Good to be here. We're buying a lot of personal protective equipment for employees to get ready for the fall and Kurt as director of purchasing, you have been at the center of that. Um, tell us about some of the things that have been purchased all of this, of course, under board direction, uh, because of the volume that we're buying. Yeah know, under the direction of a great superintendent and the, and the board, they're very cognizant of personal protective equipment. And so they've allocated those funds and, uh, things like,
Uh, cloth masks for the employees, um, ordering, um, you know, having a couple three to them, um, hand sanitizer is another important item that, uh, that they've invested in were all sorts of hand sanitizer, or anywhere from a gallon to half gallon to 16 ounce, uh, that can be put up the teacher's desk or people's individual workplaces, um, face shields, uh, for those that, uh, don't want to have a mask, but not to be able to communicate with, with, uh, you know, students or the public, uh, plexiglass shields, both portable and Hayne have been authorized. We've been looking into those different options and, and, uh, learning a lot about the difference between a polypropylene, uh, plexiglass and other types of plastic materials. So, uh, it's been a learning experience for all of us here in purchasing for a lot of those items.
I do want to get in a little bit so that people understand the process. We are starting off with a gallon of hand sanitizer in every office, in every classroom. Uh, what were some of the, uh, specs that you use to determine what hand sanitizer you would purchase?
Yeah, the CDC has a requirement and I think maybe it's even the FDA, but the health departments require a 70% alcohol, uh, are an ice of propofol alcohol content or a 60% minimum of ethanol, uh, alcohol and that's part of the, uh, requirements. And so all of the, uh, requirements that we had had to meet those minimum requirements, um, we also didn't want to have any perfumed or scented hand sanitizer.
Now, how many gallons have we ordered
The board authorized us to do 5,000 gallons? So that would cover almost every classroom office space and with a little bit leftover.
Okay. So we'll cover every classroom, every office space, and we have some other sizes that will be available. Now, the plexiglass, there are two different types of plexiglass that we're ordering. Tell us about those two different types.
Yeah. Uh, there's a, the four foot by four foot, uh, plexiglass sheets that are intended to hang from the ceiling tiles. Uh, those are intended for office spaces, uh, and teachers' desks that was given, you know, an option. The teacher has that option of, of something like that, that is stationary and, uh, in place versus a three sided and molded, um, about 30 inches by 34 inch. Um, and then eight and a half or six and a half inch sides that are molded that sit onto a desk that can be moved place to place
Pretty easily and gives them a little more flexibility, um, but offers them enough protection, um, that they can, uh, work with the student one-on-one if they need to. And these are the type of plexiglass structures that you might see sitting on the counter at a doctor or dentist office or at a retail outlet. Exactly. Yeah. And we gave teachers the choice of having one or the other, or both depending on their classroom setup and their level of comfort. And so we've ordered accordingly to whatever, uh, that came back from the teachers in the schools and what they needed. Uh, so we have, uh, quite a few of each and, uh, actually, uh, the molded ones were more popular than that. The aim sheets, which surprised me, and it gives some flexibility. People can move that around the classroom as needed, and AIDS can use that, uh, when they're working with students.
So, um, and then the, uh, the face shields allow for some flexibility, um, there's instruction of particularly in the younger grades, but throughout school, when it's important to be able to see a teacher's mouth and see how they're mouthing out words and sounding things out. So the face shield will allow some flexibility there. That's correct. Well, thanks for the thorough process, getting the best value and the best products out there and in very large quantities. So thanks for all your work Kurt. Nope. You're welcome. Thank you. Thank you for joining us on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see out there.
They are rock star teachers coming together to create what will be greater flexibility for students, teachers and parents in the upcoming school year. On this episode of the Supercast we hear from educators who are creating K – 6th grade online curriculum with content for the entire upcoming school year. It is an effort that will give teachers and parents options and help to make sure students don’t miss a beat in learning throughout the year.
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host superintendent, Anthony Godfrey. On this episode, we are really excited to talk to some rock star teachers who are collaborating over the course of three weeks summer to create a K-6 online curriculum with content for the entire upcoming school year. It's a significant effort on the part of several school districts that will give teachers and parents options and help to make sure students don't miss a beat and learning throughout the year. We're talking about curriculum covering all the core subjects designed to meet individual needs. Our rock star teachers are here to tell us all about day. We are fortunate to have on the Supercast Ross Menlove, who is the digital learning consultant for Jordan school district Dylan funk a teacher at Silvercrest elementary and Melanie Smith teacher at antelope Canyon elementary, which will open this fall. We have, we're going to start with Ross and talk with Ross a little bit about a project that we have in Jordan school district in partnership with some other districts to create online content in anticipation of schools reopening in the fall. This will allow teachers to teach any grade K 12 really, um, online. And this particular group is working on the case six part of that curriculum. Ross, can you describe a little bit about what's going on this summer?
Yeah, thanks for asking. So we have our, we have invited a group of teachers to come in and they are maintaining appropriate social distancing. As they work together to design curriculum for students who need to be able to take school online this fall, the teachers are working together to design the lesson plans and to look at the year long curriculum and the standards and ensuring that the students are able to learn those standards while participating in an online environment. The way it's designed is a there's a learning target for those students to succeed every day. And there's a teacher. The teacher will meet with those students every day and provide online instruction, whether that's, um, through a, maybe it's over the phone, or maybe it's in a video in a web conference or whatever it might be. There's a every day that teachers providing instruction to those students. And then they can have some activities that those students can participate in to be able to meet the target of the day and to continue their learning while away from school and be able to do that online.
This will be curriculum that teachers who teaching in person in the classroom can also drop in and use to meet the needs of students who have perhaps been missing class or, um, had to be absent because of a quarantine or an illness in the fall.
That is a hundred percent correct. Yeah. A student, what did the student is going to be receiving at school? They could get that same online. And so that the students who are able to seamlessly transition between being at school with their teacher and also working online and the teacher will have that, that curriculum and that content already made online to help them and assist them to best meet the needs of the students and to be able to individualize the instruction for those students based on, based on where they're at on the learning progress.
So in other words, a teacher would not have to create online content for a student who was going to be home for two weeks. They would be able to look at the standards that were going to be taught in class during that those two weeks, and just provide links to that student, to the content that's already been created by this group this summer.
Yeah. We want the teachers to do what they do best is to teach. We want to take the curriculum. Part of the process kind of want to help them with that, take that off of their shoulders so they can focus on teaching those students and meeting the individual needs of those students. You know, that's where they're chained in is, is helping those students learn and progress. And we want to make that as easy as possible so they can focus on what they're good at.
And this is also going to be a course that would allow, as you indicated students to take the entire year online so that if parents want to keep students home, uh, for, uh, any number of reasons they would be able to do so, and the content would be there to provide standards based instruction throughout the year.
The amazing thing is these teachers are providing year long curriculum. So we have a scope and sequence, and that, that those teachers are able to see what those students need to meet those standards from the first day of school to the last day of school, those students won't miss a beat and we'll be able to guarantee that those students have been taught all the essential standards they've been taught all of the curriculum that they need to be successful in their grade level or their subject area.
And the standards focus is really important. Um, for example, the, what we talked about earlier, if a student is out of school for a couple of weeks, they may not engage in exactly the same activities that they would have had they been in school, but they will receive instruction and curriculum around the same standards that they would have been learning. So they still learn the same things they needed to learn, just maybe in a different way,
You know, and that's the joy of online learning and blended learning is we can teach students and the students can respond and they're learning their own individual way. And we just, we can ensure that they've met those standards and they've shown that proficiency in their learning to be able to, for us to have a, you know, a, a sheer knowledge of those students are reaching their learning targets and they're able to continue on. And, and we have that good understanding and we know where the kids are at.
Now, this has clear application for the fall, but there are a lot of longterm uses for this type of curriculum and having this available and created by great teachers here in Jordan district.
Yup. You know, the wonderful thing about this is this is teacher created teacher made as the teachers go in throughout the curriculum, they stop and they say, you know what? This is an important concept right here. Let's spend two or three days. Let's make sure we have extra activities, make sure we build in some form of assessment to make sure the kids have this learning, but yeah, it's teacher created. And the awesome thing about this is it provides options. We have options, not only right now with this current pandemic, but we have options going forward in the future. And we can be very creative in those options for students to build, uh, ensure student learning and be flexible to meet student needs.
That's something we've been focused on as a district for a long time. That's providing a wider range of options for students. And of course that's particularly important right now, given the pandemic, but going forward, I just like that. There's going to be an option for students who may need to be out because of health reasons, or just prefer to learn at home and maybe they've chosen homeschool, but this is another option for them. Or they just simply, for whatever reason, even for a short period of time, need to learn from home, as opposed to coming to school. I just love the options. This will give teachers and parents and students.
Yeah. I, you know, I really appreciate, you know, Jordan district and the board and their, their vision to be able to provide these options for students and allowing amazing teachers to come in and work on this curriculum. So that way we can be flexible and we can keep students here in the Jordan community and keep them connected with the, with their teachers, with the school and the big community at large, without them having to physically be at the building, but still be part of the community. And part of the learning process.
I understand that other districts have joined this effort since we put this in place.
We've, uh, we've been having teachers that have come from nivo school district that are joining in the fund, they're coming and helping our teachers kind of get a different perspective and we're providing that same for them. And we're also collaborating with, um, CAS school district and other districts, and to be able to have something ready for students. District-wide not only in Jordan, but also across the state.
Describe the group that you have there this, this summer. Tell me about how many teachers you have there from all grades from a wide range of schools. And as you said, several districts.
Yeah. The teachers we have, we have about 50 teachers that have been coming in and we have about six per grade level. And they're focusing on creating a reading course, a writing course and a mathematics course. And then our science specialists at the district office are creating our science course. We're making sure in our writing course, we incorporate social studies concepts. So, so we're making sure we cover all the different aspects of the Utah core curriculum, but the teachers we have that are rock star teachers, teachers that I know that, uh, that not only found success during online teaching, but they're also teachers that are really great at curriculum. You know, they're the teachers that understand student learning the understand what activities and learning strategies. Teachers not, not only need to know, but also students need to participate in as they progress through throughout the year. You know, the amazing thing about these teachers is they're creating a year long curriculum and they understand how those students learned from in October and November, all the way to February and March and even into may. And it's wonderful to see how they kind of put that whole thing together for an entire year of curriculum for students.
Is it wrong? That that gives me goosebumps. I'm pretty excited about that. And I just think it's wonderful.
We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back more about the online curriculum and how it will give teachers, students, and parents options throughout the day,
I'm Steven Hall, director of Jordan education foundation in today's challenging and uncertain times, it is more important than ever before to support one another here at the Jordan education foundation, we invite you to join us in making sure children are not going hungry. Your $10 donation to the foundation will help us feed one student for a weekend. When food and meals may be very scarce for some, with food and hygiene supplies in the principal's pantries at Jordan school districts being depleted and in higher demand than ever before. Every financial contribution made will help us to keep the pantries filled for students who would otherwise go without the Jordan education foundation exists due to the generosity of people who care about kids. If you would like to donate to help children from going hungry, please visit Jordan education, foundation.org, or contact the foundation at (801) 567-8125. Thank you together. We can make a difference.
Let's start with Dylan fun, Dylan. Thanks for joining us on the Supercast today.
Hey, thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.
Uh, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been teaching? What grades have you taught and then we'll talk a little bit about this project.
Yeah, for sure. So I'm a newer teacher I've been over at Silvercrest for the last two years for the net for two years. And I'm currently teaching sixth grade.
So you're helping with the upper grade curriculum there. Um, tell me, uh, what have you liked about this experience? What are you learning from other teachers?
I think one of the best things is really just the ability to really like the ability to have a larger learning community. So all these different teachers from different districts and different schools are all coming together. And really just the ability to kind of talk about what's important about the, what are the parts that we want to focus on and how can we provide those options for students to really meet the learning targets?
What are some of the advantages of online learning for students in upper grades in elementary?
I, for me, I think one of the, really the best things with technology in general is just the ability that we can, the ability we have to indivi individualized teaching. So I think how we can really look at students for specific learning needs and adjust things for what they might, um, kind of need some extra assistance with. So as we kind of went through the, the end of the school year, I found that I was really adjusting and kind of tailoring instruction to what my students need for my learning environment. So I was able to adjust things really to meet those standards and learning goals and help them find their academic success.
Well, what you described is exactly what we've been trying to do for a long time and that's meet individual needs in an individualized way. So it's exciting that there's a project going forward with all of these teachers and districts working together to make that a permanent part of, of what's available to us. Um, what has it been like working with these other teachers and teachers from other districts
It's been, it's really been a quick project. It's overwhelming. I think at first we all kind of looking at the whole year kind of one big picture is always a scary thought, but as we started kind of discussing and working together in our own groups and then really even talking with other groups, it's been exciting to see people start making progress and have great ideas and sharing. And really just the level of collaboration has been exciting to see.
It's probably really fun to be in a group of teachers, even socially distanced, since you haven't had that chance for a long time.
It's definitely exciting to kind of see some other people. I feel like I've been quarantined for a while now,
Melanie let's let's uh, tell me a little bit about your teaching. How long have you taught and, uh, you were at Butterfield Canyon.
Yeah. Um, so I'll be starting my 20th year in teaching and I was, I've done all kindergarten. And then before I got to Jordan district, I did some preschool too.
When you think about online learning, I think most people think about older kids. They think about high school, middle school, upper grades. And as a cabinet, we really asked ourselves what's it like for kindergarten? And when the pandemic was new enough that we were still meeting as a cabinet, we talked about online curriculum for kindergarten, and we actually watched a couple of videos embedded into canvas as if we were a student. And I was really impressed at how engaging online learning can be for young students. Tell me a little bit more about that.
Yeah. I think a lot of people feel the same way that you explained that it's of scary for younger kids cause they don't have the ability to read like other kids do. But, um, I think it's just kind of a mindset that you have to, um, make that you, I'm sorry that you have to, to figure out how to make it accessible to kids, which we kind of do all the time in the classroom. And so, um, it's just a matter of finding things that are engaging, making videos, getting past that uncomfortableness, making videos, we just all, um, hopped on board to make it accessible to our kids. I mean, we've had a lot of parents who said, uh, how great and easy it was for their kindergartners to follow. So that was, uh, that was good feedback.
Yeah. I, I think you're right. It's more natural than we would think for kids to learn online, even at a very young age. How did it feel for you to begin teaching online in the spring?
Well, I think it's like all new things. It was overwhelming at first, um, to figure out what, um, what would work best for our kids. And, um, I think we talked to a lot of, um, our parents too. We did some surveys to say what's working, what's not so that we can get a clear idea of what to do, but that was that's for our kids. And so after a few, even after the first week, our team was really good and um, we just kept going and it became something that became kind of our easy thing.
We've all had to shift our thinking, uh, quite a bit over the last few months. How has working with these teachers and being part of this project influenced your teaching?
Um, I always feel like I'm learning and um, so it's been so great to work with people from other districts because they always have, um, different, um, perspective. So it's been good to get that perspective and hopefully, hopefully it will help us be better teachers.
I feel like too often, we're just working a lot of parallel tracks and we don't really talk to each other and we don't benefit from each other's knowledge. So I love that you're not only working with other teachers in our district, but particularly working with teachers in other districts. What advice would you give parents of young children to make online learning as effective as possible?
Um, I think for certain needs to be really open communication with the teachers and make sure whatever concerns you have that you're addressing. Um, but just be open to the idea and know that, um, we can help kids in ever whichever way they need. I think that's one thing that teachers are always going out. They're always adapting. You never have one year that's sustained. Um, and you don't have a group of kids it's this is the same. And so every year I have to figure out a new way maybe to teach a certain kid. And so I think parents just need to, um, know that we could help their kids and to reach out
Dylan. What advice would you give for parents to help make online learning effective for students in the upper grades?
I think I would probably reflect what Melanie said were communication, probably going the biggest thing is just realizing that, you know, teachers, students, parents, we're all on the same team and we all want the same thing for kids to succeed. So really walking, talking back and forth and figuring out how we can kind of help each other, find that success I think is really important. And then the other thing I think is kind of for teachers and parents is dealing with being willing to try new things. If a teacher needs to do something, to help a student find success. That's awesome. And then, you know, for parents knowing that teachers are trying these new things and kind of being there and, you know, helping us out and trying those new programs and the new activities to help students learn better.
The point you both made about communication is really important. It's when parents and teachers are working in partnership that the most effective learning happens for students. And I think that's become particularly evident with the soft dismissal of, of school. Um, this last spring, uh, this online course that, uh, is being created for every grade level is really going to help provide an added level of flexibility. What has surprised you most, either during the dismissal in the spring or creating courses for the fall? Melanie?
I think the thing that has surprised me is that it really wasn't that hard, um, to create things online, to move things from the classroom to online, it's just being willing to learn some new things.
How about you Dylan?
And I think for me, one of the biggest thing was just how many different resources there are out there. I use technology a lot in my classroom and then just really when I started looking into it more, there's just so many things I discovered that would kind of, kind of increase the quality of my online content.
Great. Both of you, uh, mentioned how daunting it was to switch to online learning in the spring and then, uh, how daunting it was to just think about creating all this online content, but then teachers adapted to both things are going really well. So what do you look forward to in the fall?
Hopefully we get some sense of normalcy where we get to see our kids. I ain't really, I'm excited that we aren't just as thrown into it. I feel like our content will be more thought out.
And I think for me, kind of in the future, I look forward to how a lot of my lessons and stuff have been really improved. I feel like technology and kind of this whole process has really challenged me as a teacher and helped me redesign and kind of look at some of my existing lessons. And I'm excited to kind of see how that continues in the future.
Do you think that your teaching will ever be the same after this experience? I think for sure this whole kind of experiences it's going to have a long lasting effect on my teaching style, for sure. I, I see myself using technology in different ways, different ways and engagement. Um, and I think for the better, there's been a lot of great, great changes.
How about you Melanie?
Yeah, I think, um, none of us will, um, have quite the same perspective on education as we did maybe a year ago. I think that we can take all of these great things that we've learned through. Um, learning we'd been trying to have blended learning and this really has pushed us into making sure that we are using blended learning in our classrooms. I think that will really show, um, for everybody, I think it will be a really positive, it can be a positive change.
Yeah, we, we learn a lot from difficulties and from challenges and, uh, the soft closure and anticipation of the fall certainly qualify as challenges, but I've just been deeply impressed at how teachers have risen to that challenge adapted to it, learned from it and stayed focused on the needs of students. And the two of you are a great example of that in action. So thank you for your great work in the spring and for your hard work on behalf of teachers throughout the district this summer, whenever we can, on the Supercast, we try to play a little game called two truths and a lie. So I'm going to give you each the chance to do that. And I think we'll start with you, Dylan. Um, it's a little harder for me to detect lies over zoom, but let's give it a shot. Dylan, tell me two truths about yourself and a lie. And let me see if I can figure out which is where
Okay. My, my three things will be, I have been to a Disney park over a hundred times. I have broken my nose or my last one is I worked as a surgical tech.
You were never a surgical tech. I love the surgical tech. You were okay. But you did go to Disney a hundred times. That's for sure I did. Yeah. The lilt in your voice, when you said that maybe it sounded a little wistful because you haven't been able to do that for a while.
I haven't. And it's very me and my wife are struggling with that very much. So.
So when did you last go
Last December would be our last time.
December was your last time. So you really do go, do you go every few months
About, about every other month is when we go
Wow. Props. I admire that. Okay. What's the best food then at Disneyland. Yeah,
That's who'd I personally, there's a place that has a French dip, but it's my absolute favorite. And I'll go there every single time. My favorite,
My wife loves French dip. I never knew that. So three years from now. And we can finally back to Disneyland. I'll keep that in mind. Okay. Very good. I know a little bit more about you now, Dylan. Well done Melanie, two truths and a lie. I am the worst at this. I can never, let's see.
I have three sisters. I have one dog and I have three kids. Okay. This is a mathematical question here. Um, you only have two sisters. I have no kids. Oh, no kids, no kids. What is your dog's name? Echo. Echo. Yep. Do you have to call his name more than wants to gain a comm class? Alright. Well what kind of dog is echo? And I shouldn't say very cool. Yeah. Okay. Well, it's been so nice meeting both of you. I really admire the work that you're doing and I really appreciate it. And I know lots of kids, parents and teachers will appreciate it as well. Thanks to our teachers for their hard work this summer, creating online K six courses. We're excited to make this available to parents and students to provide additional learning auctions this fall. Thanks again for joining us on the Supercast. And remember education is the most important thing you will do today, wherever you do it.