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Smaller school districts struggle juggling online, in-person learning with small staffs

Posted at 7:24 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 20:24:32-04

BUCKHOLTS, TX — Though most of them vary in size, school districts across Central Texas are juggling teaching students in-person and online.

However, some smaller school districts like Buckholts ISD were already stretched thin with staffing and are having to work overtime to ensure students get what they need.

"As someone who has had 43 years of starting school, this is by far the most challenging year I have ever been a part of. Every teacher is having to do two things: they’re having to prepare and maintain the students that they have and then do the actual work to prepare and take care of the students that are virtually learning," said Superintendent Joe Oliver at Buckholts ISD.

And although it has doubled the work for teachers, he feels it's important to give parents a virtual option.

"The elementary kids are primarily doing packet work and have a filing cabinet where they had them out and pick them back up and we try to do that as promptly as we can," Oliver said.

"I just don’t understand how she’s making grades when items are being graded," said Angel Carrasco, a parent of a student at the school.

Buckholts ISD parent Angel Carrasco says she did get a report card for her child and is pleased she is doing well, but she claims she hasn't received any grades up until this point.

"We have no communication with the teacher asking us, do you need help with such and such work. We have nothing," Carrasco said.

"We have some teachers that have been very, very ill, and I think that may have something to do with it as well," Oliver said.

Though she hasn't spoken to the principal or superintendent about this, Carrasco said she understands and sympathizes with the teachers' illness, but says her child still needs a teacher.

"At this point, I’m just pulling pages out of books - saying okay well let’s just do this work this week, so we are doing something, so you’re not forgetting. Okay, this math problem works this way because we have no direction; we have nothing no one’s telling us what we’re supposed to be working on this week," Carrasco said.

Oliver says he has an open-door policy and welcomes any parent who has concerns to stop by his office.

"I will suggest them to bring their child to me, and let’s sit down across the table and discuss what’s going on," Oliver said. "Let’s talk about what they are doing to help educate the child at the house and where they feel like we’re falling down and we’re doing our very best to make life good for that child because that’s what we’re here for."