Petition asking school superintendent to improve remote-learning plans gains 299 signatures


Pelham parents David Joachim and Jade-Snow Joachim started a petition Wednesday that has so far gained 299 signatures in a bid to get the district to provide “as much parity between in-class and remote learning as possible.”

The petition “Plea to Dr. Champ to Revamp Remote-Learning Plan” states parental concerns about students not being able to engage with lessons while at home. In directly addressing Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ, it says, “You acknowledge that under the hybrid model you are developing, students at home will not have the same level of interaction as those in the classroom.”

The district has yet to say if it will start school with the hybrid or online model. The hybrid approach requires students to learn from home two and half days a week.

The petitions says parents fear the current remote-learning plan will force younger students to rely on their parents to “shuffle Google Classroom documents to match those being presented in the live classroom.”

The description of the plans paints “a disturbing picture of what school days will look like,” the petition says. “Students, even the youngest ones, will have to rely on a C-Span-style livestream of teachers talking to other students.”

With her signature, Isabelle Konstantinov wrote, “The current remote plan does not provide a means for students to engage real time in their learning. It is too passive to motivate them, provide real-time feedback.”

The petition lists ideas for more interactive virtual learning platforms, proposing live interaction from viewing students at home who would have the ability to “raise hands” and ask their questions via speaker, as well as simultaneous presentation of materials on the smart boards and over the web.

In a message attached to her signature, parent Elizabeth Alderman voiced the concerns of parents whose children have special needs: “I am high risk and have a child with a 504 who needs social-emotional support, specifically with peer interaction. The hybrid model offers the choice of isolated learning experience or health risk.”

A spokesman for the Pelham Union Free School District said the district would not have any comment on the petition.