Morris Area High School Principal Bill Kehoe (l) and Elementary School Principal Shane Monson (r). (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

The Morris School District recently sent out surveys to both students and parents to gather feedback on how Distance Learning is working out for them. The results of the surveys were presented at the meeting of the Morris School Board on Monday by Morris Area Elementary School Principal Shane Monson and Morris Area High School Principal Bill Kehoe. Principal Monson said overall the survey showed the District seems to be on the right track.

“At least in the first couple of weeks, have gotten a good kickoff,” said Monson. “Certainly with any Distance Learning we’ve pivoted from an in-house educational setting to completely remote utilizing technology. And I think our staff has done an outstanding job of putting that together and getting that off the ground. Certainly we run into some things we need to work through with our families and the communication’s been very good.”

The survey showed 68 percent of elementary students and 77 percent of high school students felt the amount of work they’ve been getting from teachers has been about right. 30 percent of elementary students thought it was too much, while only 10 percent of high school students felt it was too much. The survey also found that a majority of students miss the face to face time with teachers and the social interactions with their classmates the most. Principal Kehoe cautioned that while this initial survey showed positive numbers, things could change if Distance Learning drags on for an extended time.

“This is probably something, dependent on how much longer we’re going to be required to do Distance Learning, taking a look at another sample as we get a little farther into this, if we’re required to do this further,” said Kehoe. “Certainly, things change with time and frustrations maybe can grow with some things with time, too. So, we’ll probably have to continue to reach out to families. If we are having some difficulties or challenges, we are making phone calls and talking with parents — which I think our staff is doing an outstanding job of.”

92 percent of high schoolers said the District is providing everything they need for proper learning, and 99 percent of elementary students said they have what they need to complete their work. School Board member Mike Odello told the principals he was impressed with the numbers, which were gathered from 304 parent responses, 144 7th through 12th graders and 119 3rd through 6th graders.

“Those are fantastic numbers. Those are way better numbers than I thought, as far as ‘Enough Work,’ ‘Too Much Work,’ ‘Not Enough Work,'” said Odello. “From the high school students I talked to, I thought there’d be many more that’d complain about too much work. But I thought the numbers were dead-on where they should be.”

The District will likely conduct another survey at a later date.

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