GVSU study: Almost 90 percent of GVSU charter schools will use hybrid education during COVID-19 pandemic

A teacher looks over the paper of a student in her classroom.
Image credit - Courtesy Photo

Grand Valley’s Charter Schools Office has commissioned a first-of-its-kind study to analyze the continuity of learning plans for each of the 78 charter public schools the university authorizes. The study provides a comprehensive overview of how K-12 districts will support student learning and well-being during school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The independent study found that 87 percent of Grand Valley-authorized charter public schools will provide hybrid modes of instruction, with students receiving lessons through a combination of virtual platforms and hard-copy materials. 

The study also looked at what schools were doing to help students access the alternative modes of instruction. Results indicate that 75 percent of charters provided students with school-issued devices or will not require devices to access instruction, while 29 percent of districts offered school-issued mobile hotspots. More than half reported surveying parents and students to assess technology needs for their continuation of learning plans.

“This report is a proof point from the charter community that shows schools can quickly innovate,” said Rob Kimball, associate vice president for charter schools. “Studying how this occurred in the charter sector is not important just for those schools, but for all public schools. What can be learned from their actions can help everyone improve.”

The schools also shared how they would continue to support the mental and physical health of students. On average, the report showed students would have multiple teachers and staff members monitoring and offering support from their school in these areas, with some charters reporting they were creating “well-being committees.” Charters also planned to use multiple methods for providing health and wellness resources to students.

Other key findings were related to how teacher and support staff communicate with students and parents, how districts restructured budget plans to address new needs related to distance learning, and professional development to staff for implementing the continuity of learning plans.

“Our students’ futures are too important to let them stagnate, even for a short time,” said Kimball. “Families are counting on the leaders and educators in our public schools to keep learning moving forward, and the public schools we charter are working alongside their communities to ensure that happens.”

For a copy of the report, visit www.gvsu.edu/cso/research.


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