Back-To-School 101: Keeping your 5th and 6th graders on track on a hybrid schedule

SPOKANE, Wash. — On Wednesday, Elementary schools in Spokane are welcoming fifth and sixth grade students for the first time in nearly a year.

If you have a student going to class in person this week, here’s what you can expect in this hybrid schedule:

4 News Now spoke with some Spokane sixth grade teachers who say their students are excited and nervous and anxiously anticipating the first day of in-person classes.

The teachers have been able to build a good virtual relationship with students and are ready to finally meet them.

The hybrid learning model will have them attending class in small cohorts, meaning greater opportunity for building relationships with classmates and participating in class in a way that wasn’t possible over a computer screen.

“It’s going to take some vulnerability,” said sixth grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary School Heather Ader. “Where they’ve been able to be muted and haven’t had to share, the expectation now is that everyone will participate, we will hear from all students and they will all start to work together and kind of the way it used to be.”

Many of them are anxious about making friends and how the workload might change — the teachers say it won’t be changing much at all.

“As teachers, we’re really thinking about giving kids work that they can be independent at on their online at home work days,” said sixth grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary School Jan Shoemaker. “So parents don’t have to be real worried about teaching new content or helping them with something they’re not familiar with.”

They say students should be able go home each day knowing the expectations and prepared to do work independently.

“We’re going to continue enforcing that life skill of being an independent learner to make them more successful for their future,” said sixth grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary School Joe Arnhold.

But even on those independent learning days, they won’t be without support.

Here are some tips to keep your student on track with hybrid learning:

RELATED: Her Recession: School districts’ hybrid schedule posing challenges for families

RELATED: Washington adjusts school reopening guidance with hope of seeing more students return to classrooms