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Hybrid Learning VS. Homeschooling: Parents and Educators Share Teaching Differences During COVID-19

WPBS is pleased to announce the release of a 30-minute documentary titled: “More to the Story: Education During a Pandemic.” The investigative episode pulls back the curtain on both the hybrid model of public school teaching and private homeschooling to reveal the most glaring differences as students, educators, and parents navigate a new, and often challenging, educational landscape during the ongoing pandemic.

In March of 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an executive order mandating sweeping restrictions on businesses and schools across New York State. Schools were ordered to immediately close. Educators worked quickly to implement online learning, even with limited resources and lack of internet service in some areas. WPBS was at the forefront, and aired online classrooms and other educational programming to assist teachers and students with the educational shift.

For the 2020/2021 school year, districts in Northern New York and Eastern Ontario have experimented with different approaches to in-person and remote learning, and have had to adjust to these approaches frequently as circumstances changed. One such approach is the hybrid model; a format that affords students the opportunity to still attend classes on assigned days with their peers. Pulaski Academy & Central Schools follows this very model, and is featured in the upcoming episode. At the same time, New York State has seen a rising interest in the number of families that have chosen to homeschool their children during COVID-19. WPBS spent some time with a homeschooling family, the Roggie family in Lewis County, to learn more.

According to Tyson Roggie, Lewis County Homeschool New York Co-Leader, “This year, we have seen a huge increase of homeschoolers because of the pandemic. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from families that are very encouraged about what they are seeing and they feel like this could be an option for them moving forward.” This model affords working parents the opportunity to navigate their children’s education around work hours. This “More to the Story” episode will premiere on WPBS on Sunday, February 21st at 6:30pm EST, and again on Friday, February 26th at 7:00pm EST. The episode will also be available on the WPBS Facebook page to view at those same times. The program will be available to watch anytime online at watch.wpbstv.org.

Featured in the episode are:

  • Tom Jennings, Pulaski Academy & Central School Superintendent
  • Ken Isgar, Pulaski Academy & Central School English Dept. Chair and Teacher
  • Stephen Todd, Jefferson-Lewis, Hamilton, Herkimer, Oneida BOCES District Superintendent
  • Lydia Johnson Huntress, New Homeschooling Parent
  • Shae Roggie, Homeschool New York Co-Leader
  • Tyson Roggie, Homeschool New York Co-Leader
  • Eric Cleary, Hybrid Learning Parent

Thousands of classrooms (both at home and in schools) across the state experience challenges with any model. From lack of internet service, shortages of laptops, teachers choosing to retire early, and students struggling to stay focused online, sharing the bredth of the various dillemas would be difficult. But here in Northern New York, this series episode aims to share how one corner of Northern New York is managing to keep our chidren inspired, educated, and engaged. “One of the things we learned early on is that we need to rely on one another,” Tom Jennings, Pulaski Academy & Central School Superintendent said. “It’s the only way we’re going to get through all of this. Teachers collaborating and figuring out the best way to provide remote learning while keeping our students and staff healthy and safe is key.” More to the Story: Education During a Pandemic is a part of WPBS’s committment to regional education, serving dozens of school districts across Eastern Ontario and Northern New York. For over 50 years WPBS has made education its primary focus, including making available online learning tools like GPS for Success and PBS LearningMedia. Each year WPBS also presents the Writers Contest for young writers, as well as the popular high school game show, Whiz Quiz, which has been on the air for 41 years.

About WPBS WPBS is a PBS station serving approximately 650,000 households throughout Northern New York and Eastern Ontario via cable, satellite, Internet and over-the-air distribution. WPBS is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, inform, and engage its two-nation region with exceptional and trusted content across multiple platforms. Its vision is to be the premier provider of extraordinary public media that instills wonder and curiosity across generations and borders. More information about WPBS, including a full channel listing, is available at wpbstv.org, or by following WPBS on Twitter and Facebook.