By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – The first day of school, virtually, for major school districts in Colorado saw some technical issues happening at the classroom level with other challenges because of glitches nationally for popular software. District leaders say overall their platforms were a success with Denver Public Schools and Jeffco Public Schools using various services and some schools choosing different software than their districts.

(credit: CBS)

“I have four kids that were starting all today with normally in-person learning it would normally be spread out,” said Shaina Oliver, a DPS parent. “It was a different challenge, dealing with everyone in one day.”

Oliver enrolled two of her children in the new DPS charter school, American Indian Academy of Denver. This fall is their first school year and while they were unable to start at their physical location, they planned a virtual opening on Zoom. School leaders shared that families struggled to get their students connected in the morning because of a failure by the video conference calling software Zoom. The majority of DPS schools do not use that program, relying on Seesaw and Schoology.

“We try to have a space for where the kids will be for their online learning,” Oliver told CBS4 on Zoom. “Today didn’t really go as planned.”

Oliver said she hopes to separate her children so they cannot distract each other learning remotely as they did on Monday. While she believes all of her students benefit from in-person learning, she knows they need to be at home because of their safety.

“I see the challenge with online learning as well as the crucial benefits of in person learning for these children.” Oliver said.

While DPS did not use Zoom in most of its schools, Jeffco does rely on the platform and the outage did affect their first day. The district released numbers Monday explaining that thousands of virtual classrooms operated successfully on Google. Others did still connect and use Zoom during the day.

(credit: CBS)

“The lack of support and preparedness of our educational system, is what pushed me to enroll my students into American Indian Academy.”

Oliver chose the American Indian Academy of Denver for its unique education offering a STEAM approach, STEM subjects plus the arts with a focus on an Indigenous perspective. She appreciates that the school pulls from those native cultures of the country because it is part of her children’s background. While she does not know when they will get to experience that education in-person at the new school, a day into remote learning she is understanding of the model.

“It’s just something we have to reckon with, it’s not really a choice of ours,” she said. “It’s not really something that we have the leisure or privilege to say we don’t want it.”

LINK: American Indian Academy of Denver

Shawn Chitnis

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