LAKE OSWEGO, OR (KPTV) - As school districts are making plans for the beginning of the school year, many are focusing on virtual learning for at least the first several weeks.

Lake Oswego schools, some of the first in the Portland area to distribute Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to all students this spring, are ramping up for a new and improved distance learning program this fall, focused on providing daily interactions with teachers and regular class schedules that mirror a school's normal bell schedule.

Kelly Fitzsimmons, President of the Lake Oswego Education Association and a language arts teacher, said that in her class, students and teachers could read a story together as a group, then split into smaller groups for discussion, all online.

"What that means is I could push a group of four to five students into a separate chat room where they can see each other, just like we can see each other right now, and have a list of questions that they're going to discuss," Fitzsimmon said. "Then I'll be able to pull them back together as a whole class, and we could do some discussion share-out."

The district will be using Google Classroom as its learning platform, with a single sign-on and all online resources in one place.

Students will also spend time working independently on assignments, and teachers will be distributing hard-copy materials and workbooks.

This time around, unlike in the spring, work will be graded.

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