Baldwin Superintendent Concerned About Low Virtual Participation Rate

Baldwin Community Schools Superintendent, Rick Heitmeyer says on average only 60 percent of their student body is attending class.

“Kids need to learn, kids need to be getting their education, it’s very important,” says Heitmeyer, “We’re making a lot of phone calls every week, where are you, why aren’t you participating, what can we do to help you get on board and get into class.”

Heitmeyer believes a main factor in the low participation rate is the lack of internet service in the area:

“We’re working with some different organizations and different companies, trying to create some hot spots here in the community, we keep thinking that we’re getting closer to that becoming a reality, but then something gets in the way of making that happen.”

Mark Forner is the K-12 Principal for Mason County Eastern. He says one-third of their student body is learning virtually. As of right now, he says they’re seeing promising participation rates.

“As of right now the kids and the parents have been very cooperative in terms of returning phone calls, returning emails, their participation in the google meets, that’s been a pleasant surprise,” says Forner.

Forner says a partnership between parents and the school is key.

“We were very transparent and up front, look mom and dad, this is the expectation, you will stay in contact with us, and respond to the teacher twice a week, this is the condition.”

Heitmeyer hopes they can find a way to connect students, and soon:

“They need to learn, they need to be in attendance… because we know that more school kids miss, the farther behind they’re going to fall.”

For the kids who are attending classes virtually, Heitmeyer says, they’re are doing very well:

“We know that it’s not perfect but we’re learning from this every day and really striving to make things better.”