‘My day was great:’ Orange County students share virtual learning experiences as semester begins

More than 756,000 launches of Canvas app by 3 p.m.

‘My day was great:’ Orange County students share virtual learning experiences as semester begins
‘My day was great:’ Orange County students share virtual learning experiences as semester begins

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public School officials are thanking parents and students for their patience Monday afternoon after what was a rough start for many to the new school year which took place virtually Monday morning.

All 212,000 students in Orange County will be doing the first nine days virtually on LaunchEd@Home before about 37% of them go into a classroom for face-to-face learning on Aug. 21.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Orange County School Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said as of 3 p.m. Monday, there were more than 756,000 launches of the Canvas app. She also said at 9 a.m., there more than 4,000 live classroom sessions happening simultaneously.

Here are some stories from parents across the district:

2nd Grader Selah George

Wearing her new blue light glasses, Castleview Elementary 2nd grader Selah George logged into LaunchPad right when school started at 8:45, but by 9 a.m., her mom took a video showing how she wasn’t able to get the livestream of her teachers inside her classroom to work. Her school was using the live platform Big Blue Button for the stream.

"I think they are having a problem getting the video started," Selah shows us in the video.

Her mom Savi George said as the teacher worked on the problem, the students logged out and participated in a separate lesson. It was more than an hour later, the teacher sent a new link and by 10:30 Selah was back in the classroom ready to read a story called “First Day Jitters.”

“I got really excited because I miss a lot of my friends. I made a little new friends and I like it like that,” Selah said. “I just would prefer it like going to real school but I wouldn’t want to wear the mask the whole time.”

"This is a whole new concept for everyone so we are all learning together," Savi said. "I think the most important thing is the parents being involved because I can't imagine it working without adult supervision."

7th grader Khan Taylor and 4th grader Claudio Taylor

7th grade South Creek Middle School student Khan Taylor had no issues logging into his LaunchPad Monday morning. His 4th-grade sister Claudia Taylor however had several issues.

"Trouble logging into Microsoft meeting which her school is using. She wasn't able to get on until about 10:30," said mom Marz Aponte. "Khan logged in just fine his school set up is very good. No issues."

District officials say the day was easier for many of the upper-grade levels as many middle and high schoolers were already issued school devices. As of last week, the district was still distributing them to elementary school students.

Kindergartner Kyle Ambrogne

News 6's morning executive producer, John Ambrogne, got home just in time to help his wife log his kindergartner into his first day of school ever, however it was not an easy start.

“Lots of problems getting logged in this morning,” he said. “Kyle started off like a trooper, but like any 5-year-old his attention span is not holding.”

After receiving several error messages, the teacher had Kyle log out to use another app for "PE" and Ambrogne said no one in the class can get that to load at all.

It wasn’t until lunchtime that things were running smoothly and inquisitive Kyle was able to ask his teachers questions live while he worked on his coloring assignment for the day.

2nd grader Dylan Kight

There were actually no problems for 2nd grade Westbook Elementary Student Dylan Kight on Monday morning. His mother, Erica Kight, got Dylan up and did a routine just as if he were physically going to his school. She said she set him up on the computer and they ran into no issues at all. Unlike Selah George, Dylan’s school set up the livestream on Microsoft teams and not Big Blue Button.

“It’s surprisingly going very well,” Knight wrote in a message to News 6. “I set it up for him and he just sits at the desk.”

In a video message, Dylan also said the first day of second grade went great, though he does miss his friends.

“My day was great,” Dylan said. “It’s fun at home but at school, it’s more fun.”

About the Author: