This is the last week of summer vacation for students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, so they have one week to get prepared to use My School Online, the district’s new distance learning system.
Miami-Dade public schools are scheduled to have their first day of classes on August 31st, but August 24th to the 28th had been designated as an orientation period to allow parents, students and teachers to get used to the online learning portal.
MDCPS is calling this the Week of Welcome, and is asking parents and students to log on to Miamiweekofwelcome.com, where a series of webinars are being posted to explain the new system and to provide useful information to parents.
The Week of Welcome started inauspiciously this morning with the website crashing. They fixed that problem and by about 10:30 AM, the site was accessible.
Shelley and Robert Gonzalez watched the videos together with their son, Luis, who is starting second grade.
“My biggest concern is keeping him engaged,” Shelley Gonzalez said. “I want to make sure that he’s not, it’s not just a computer he’s sitting in front of, that we make it like immersive, so I’m hoping communication between teachers and parents is really strong.”
The Week of Welcome site has videos on a variety of topics, such as early childhood and exceptional student education, tools for parents to use during at-home learning. Robert Gonzalez told us the video on social and emotional development is especially useful.
“School is not only about academics, it’s about how we socialize and interact with one another, and those are building blocks for social interactions later on in life,” Gonzalez said.
“My advice to parents would be to not be afraid to reach out and ask for help,” said Priscilla Roche, who is a parent and a teacher.
Roche teaches history in middle school, and she has a daughter entering second grade, so Roche is seeing the new learning platform from two perspectives, as a mom and as a teacher. She says she and her colleagues are just now learning how to use the system.
“As teachers, we’re trying to do the best we can, we’re just getting exposed to the platform this week so, as a parent my heart goes out to parents out there, too, that really don’t know what’s going on, me, I’m just trying to figure out how to manage the two,” Roche said, before adding that she thinks remote learning with the new platform will be far superior to what students and teachers experienced at the end of last school year.
Miamiweekofwelcome.com has step-by-step instructions for students and parents and more videos are being added every day, so the school district is recommending logging in every day. The more you know, the better off your kids will be.
On Tuesday, Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is scheduled to host a parents' webinar at 5:30 p.m. to answer families' questions about distance learning and how the school year will develop.
On September 30th, a reassessment of COVID conditions is set to take place. In order for Miami-Dade officials to decide to go forward with in-person schooling, the county must have achieved a sustained positivity rate of less than 10%, showing a trend towards 5% over a 14-day period, among other factors.