LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — We're only days away from the beginning of a new school year. It will be a different experience for teachers, parents and students continuing their education.
As kids go back to school next week, the classrooms will remain empty as they learn remotely. Some educators spent this summer attending workshops and training online to better teach their students.
Kindergarten teacher Kristan Nigro loves her Schorr Elementary students so much, she created this Giving Closet to help kids in need. This was back in December 2019.
Come 2020, no more closets. No more classrooms. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way she reaches out to her students.
"Normally when we're getting ready to start school it's you know you get those like first day jitters we're excited because you're going to meet your class but it's just so different because it's such because it is so bizarre trying to teach 5-year-olds through a computer screen," says Nigro.
PREPARING FOR REMOTE TEACHING
A week before the new school year starts, Kristan converted an extra room to a makeshift classroom. "I also have these two boards that you see in the back will be used for me to hang up like our number cards.."
For back to school, instead of buying school supplies and other items for her students, she spent $450 dollars to prepare for remote learning and getting ideas from enrolling in web seminars to buying other teaching materials.
"I will have what's called a document camera so anything that we do that requires like forming letters, they will actually be able to see it live on the screen."
Other Clark County School District teachers are turning to crowdfund sites like Donors Choose to get the money they need for their virtual classes. Kristan says the state funds for teacher supply reimbursement was cut to close a hole in the state budget due to the pandemic. A tough pill to swallow.
But Kristan finds a silver lining with distance learning. Her son is joining her classes in person where he can help demonstrate activities.
"It released the burden of trying to figure out what I would do with my son just because I know a lot of parents are in that boat right now... I'm really going to rely on him a lot as a peer model … I really want them to see that kids are capable of doing this just because you know if they see my son doing it it's almost like that positive peer pressure."
No doubt the upcoming school year presents new challenges to all parents, educators and students. Kristan Nigro has a plea.
"Let's do this as a partnership this in this particular environment we are not going to be able to do it by ourselves we are going to rely too heavily on Parental involvement and I know it's stressful because they have a job that they have to do as well in order to pay the bills but things like you know just playing little things of like snacks, hiding things so that that way they're building their fine motor and that is so huge because it's those little things that you know I'm unable to control. "