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Florida School Leaders Taking Notes On State's Remote Learning Experiment

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John Ward

Florida schools have moved course work online amid upheaval from the coronavirus. Now school officials are using the moment to plan for the future.

The experiment in remote learning is providing real-time information to educators, and  Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna believes some of the lessons-learned will stick around.

“I think there will be distance learning that will be infused and embedded into the brick and mortar face-to-face instruction we are giving. So it’ll turn more into a blended model of learning, which is good," he says.

What Hanna doesn't want to see is the complete dismantling of traditional brick-and-mortar schools, saying, "there's more to school than just school." 

State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran says he doesn't want to lose the face-to-face interactions teachers have with their students but he wants those teachers to keep up with the digital skills they're learning now. 

“Next school year, maybe we have two, to three teacher planning days added and those teacher planning days are distance learning days so the muscle memory of what we need to do and be prepared is always right there before us," he recently told reporters during a press conference providing updates on the ways the state has boosted its virtual and remote schooling efforts. 

The U.S. Department of Education has given states a wide berth when it comes to distance learning in its guidance, the Department says it “does not want to stand in the way of good faith efforts to educate students on-line." 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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