LA GRANDE — The La Grande School District is launching a website to help its students go the distance this spring.

The website ays the framework for the district’s new distance education program. La Grande, like all public school districts in Oregon, must start a distance education program by April 13 under a directive from the Oregon Department of Education. It came two weeks after Gov. Kate Brown ordered all school districts closed due to COVID-19.

The new website at provides students with class assignments, information on turning them in and other resources. Scott Carpenter, the district’s director of educational programs, said the website aims to provide students with all they need to learn at a distance.

While students can submit their work remotely, they also have the option of turning in work at their schools, which are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays during the closure. The district also encouraged students to submit their work weekly rather than at the end of the closure. Carpenter said this will help the learning process because subject matter builds on earlier lessons.

“Learning happens in sequence,” Carpenter said.

Teachers will be required to acknowledge receipt of coursework via phone calls, emails or other means.

La Grande High School teachers are to enter all graded classwork into the Synergy software system. This will provide students with a clear picture of how they are progressing toward course completion and where they stand in terms of earning education credits. Teachers also will be available to answer student questions each weekday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. via phone, email or media platforms.

“They have multiple formats for communicating with teachers,” Carpenter said.

District educators are reviewing curriculum tools and online resources. Those resources would not be part of the curriculum but could provide families and students with additional opportunities to learn.

Teachers will share packets electronically with families via a number of sources depending on their students’ grade level. Hard copies of curriculum packets will be available for pickup on Tuesdays between 7:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the schools students are attending. Parents also will be able to pick up the packets.

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will work 30 minutes per school day in reading, writing and math each. Seventh through 12th graders will have about 30 minutes of homework per course. The homework some La Grande High School social studies students received over the past week including reviewing the definition and purpose of an executive order

Writing assignments fifth graders were given included editing sentences like this: “hans christian anderson a writer for young children was born on April 2 1805.”

The website states families can expect communication by phone or mail from teachers twice a week to discuss homework and answer questions. Elementary school students will be contacted by their classroom teachers. Middle school and high school teachers will be contacted by their homeroom teachers.

The website also addresses technology issues students may encounter. It lets students know the school district will provide a Chromebook to students who need a device to access digital curriculum and to get help from their teacher. The La Grande School District has checked out 500 Chromebooks to students, Carpenter said.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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