Williamson County School testing asynchronous program to give teachers more planning, training time

Communication Director Carol Birdsong and Superintendent Jason Golden discussed the asynchronous pilot program during a livestream event Sept. 22. (Screenshot via YouTube)
Communication Director Carol Birdsong and Superintendent Jason Golden discussed the asynchronous pilot program during a livestream event Sept. 22. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Communication Director Carol Birdsong and Superintendent Jason Golden discussed the asynchronous pilot program during a livestream event Sept. 22. (Screenshot via YouTube)

For many students in Williamson County Schools, Sept. 22 is an asynchronous learning day. This comes as part of a pilot program the district is testing to find a way to give teachers more time to receive training and to plan for online and in-person instruction.

Students at middle schools and high schools, as well as students at Hillsboro School, will receive assignments from teacher and spend the day learning asynchronously—at their own pace without timed guidance from a teacher.

During a livestream event Sept. 22, WCS Superintendent Jason Golden said the district is taking advantage of a previously scheduled ACT testing day for seniors to test out a program that could give teachers more time to learn online platforms and to catch up on planning. The need for more time has been emphasized by teachers throughout the district, who are working to juggle teaching online and in person.

"We knew that that was going to impact the campuses because they have to spread out to take the tests, so we took this as an opportunity to do a pilot with an asynchronous day where all students who aren’t taking the ACT at the secondary level get assignments from their teacher—they do their school work in an asynchronous way," Golden said. "At the same time, the teachers today have a mix of professional development, training and planning time so that they can spend some time to see what it looks like. Spend some time to catch up; spend some time learning some of these new platforms—just a little bit extra to get a better grasp of what they’re doing."

Golden said depending on how the day goes, the district may decide to implement more asynchronous days.

"We’re meeting tomorrow to talk about how it went, whether there’s value in us taking the next step potentially and picking out some additional days through the rest of the calendar to still give students the instruction, but [we will] make it asynchronous or a mix so that we can find some additional time for teachers to plan through this pandemic," he said.

By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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