As school begins, kindergarten parents learn the ins and outs SanTan Sun News

As school begins, kindergarten parents learn the ins and outs

As school begins, kindergarten parents learn the ins and outs
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By KAYLA RUTLEDGE
Staff Writer

Thousands of students are making their way back into the classrooms next week – including scores of kids who will be going to school for the first time.

And for the first time, Chandler Unified School District kindergarten teachers went live on Facebook to address last-minute concerns and questions from parents.

The district starts school on July 23, but CUSD spokesman Terry Locke said the district scheduled the live stream for the day before school offices opened for the new year.

The timing of the video, Locke said, allowed parents to follow up with questions that had not been answered during the live stream directly from their school’s administrators.

Four kindergarten teachers made up the panel that answered parent questions. Locke said the panel included teachers from traditional schools, Title I schools and neighborhood schools in order to represent the kindergarten experience from varying points of view.

“The teachers complemented each other really well. They all had different perspectives,” Locke said.

Jennifer Huber commented on the post, “It’s interesting how different schools have different answers to these questions. I would have anticipated more consistency across the district.”

Locke said the diversity in their background and their responses also provided one of the biggest challenges they faced when going live.

Those watching the live webcast were able to ask questions directly onto the Facebook post. Locke would then supply the teachers the questions and each teacher would give a response.

“You don’t get any do-overs,” Terry said, adding, “The four of them didn’t know each other. So, they really had about a half-hour to meet each other beforehand, but everything was completely unrehearsed.”

The conversation started with each teacher describing what a typical day in a kindergarten classroom looks like, before the questions and comments started to flow.

Parents asked questions about how the buddy system works when children need to go to the bathroom, how parents can make saying goodbye on the first day as easy as possible for their child, if they should bring their children to meet-the-teacher night, and when they will know who their teacher is and what supplies to bring with them on the first day of school.

“Some people answered the questions on behalf of others. That’s the beauty of using Facebook Live as a means of communicating,” Locke said.

Locke said doing a live video on the district’s Facebook page was a natural next step for the marketing and communication department.

“We’re big on video in the district, and the community seems to love it,” Locke said. “We want to be open with the community and it’s great having that immediate dialogue back.”

The video had about 170 viewers during the live stream, but that number spiked to over 3,300 viewers in the first 24 hours the video was posted.

Parents had an enthusiastic response to the video, leaving comments thanking the district for setting it up after the live stream ended. 

Anna Pereira commented, “Thank you for this post! It was informative and answered all of my questions.”

“Great job! Loved the show,” Kathy Rood Dotson Hickey commented.

Terry said the success of the live stream revolved around parents getting their questions answered in real time.

Because of the positive outcome from Kindergarten Live, Locke said, the district is now considering expanding the topics covered in live stream videos on the district’s Facebook page.

“If we’re still getting this positive and helpful reaction we will probably ask our staff and principals ‘what are the questions we can take on as a picture thing,’” Locke said.

Locke said the next step will be covering the junior high school and high school experience in live stream videos, then the district may consider doing a sports episode and a career and technical education episode.

“It’s the way our public likes to be communicated with. It’s a favorable way of communicating these days,” Locke said.

The kindergarten video is still on the district’s Facebook page, and Terry said to refer to the video if you are a parent of a kindergartener with questions or concerns and have not seen it yet.

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