Bloomfield School District discusses equity, online learning at virtual meeting

Matt Hollinshead,

FARMINGTON — Bloomfield Schools Superintendent Kim Mizell discussed a number of educational equity topics during Tuesday’s virtual school board workshop about how the district is working to ensure students are ready for the 2020-2021 school year.

In the event of a possible online learning format, Mizell said all students in grades 4-12 will have access to computer technology, along with 40-plus hotspot locations to help address internet connection concerns.

Mizell also said devices will also be purchased for students enrolled in special education, as well as for homeless Native American students.

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Mizell said the district utilized CARES Act, special education and Indian Education Grant funds to obtain 1,000 Chromebook computers for the students.

In all, it amounts to close to $300,000 worth of funding, including $200,000 from CARES Act funds, Mizell said.

For the time being, however, Mizell said the process of possible hybrid learning, featuring both online and in-person learning, is on hold for Bloomfield High School because the district is waiting for further instruction from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Mizell said BHS is still awaiting word about acquiring face shields for students and employees as an alternative to wearing face masks.

Mizell also said some employees with the district decided to retire instead of coming back, while others are waiting for medical clearance to resume in-person teaching.

In the hybrid option the district put forth, according to the district’s website, only 50 percent of students will be allowed inside the school itself. That means students would alternate between attending in-person classes and attending online classes.

Online learning via Google Classroom

Bloomfield Schools’ Director of Pre K-12 Curriculum and Instruction Kevin Summers said grade school curriculum like mathematics, vocabulary and language arts will be done by using visual presentation tools such as video of an actual book being read to them.

Summers said high school curriculum will include video, PDF and google document formats, and there will also be live instruction similar to Zoom calls.

Summers said the first six weeks of the current framework has been assembled, and curriculum is broken up by each grade. 

Summers also said Week 7 will be used to assess how effective the platform is, while Week 8 will be a “re-teaching” phase.

Summers said he anticipates the first week, no matter the format, will be more traditional in that students would build rapport with their teachers and classmates, but there’s a need for professional development in helping students navigate the Google Classroom platform.

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Summers said parents and guardians will be invited to join Google Classroom to stay engaged, and they can sign up for daily or weekly email summaries on their child’s academic progress.

Summers also said Google Classroom will accommodate students with special education needs, and necessary modifications will be made to make teachers’ jobs easier based on each student).

The next school board workshop is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Aug. 11.

Meal distributions

Mizell said Huerfano Chapter House, located at 600 Road 7150 in Bloomfield, and bus services will aid in meal distributions for students in Bloomfield and as far out as Blanco. Distributions will be broken up by last name over two-day periods, Mizell said.

Those with last names starting with A through L can get their meals on Mondays and Tuesdays, while those with last names starting with M through Z can pick up their meals on Thursdays and Fridays.

Bloomfield School District Superintendent Kim Mizell speaks at the district's School Board Workshop at the district's office in Bloomfield on Jan. 13, 2020.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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