How Denver teachers prepared for remote learning amid coronavirus pandemic

Cat Obregon is planning to start next week with a simple assignment: Send a funny meme you found and write a journal entry about how you’re feeling. Are you lonely? Bored? Overwhelmed?

Obregon, who teaches 10th grade English at Denver’s East High School, has two goals for when Colorado’s largest school district transitions to online learning to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus. And like for a lot of teachers, the first goal is not academic.

“The first is that my students feel safe, that they have an opportunity to socialize, and that they get their emotional needs met to the best of my ability,” Obregon said.

Denver Public Schools makes the monumental shift to remote learning Tuesday after a three-week “extended spring break” during which classes were canceled. The district announced Friday that online learning will continue through the end of the school year. Chalkbeat spoke with three school leaders and six teachers about how they’re preparing.

Educators are papering home walls with inspirational posters to make mini classrooms. Older teachers who only recently mastered how to email parents are quickly learning to videoconference. Younger teachers with kids of their own are using them as lesson planning guinea pigs — and wondering how they’re going to balance parenting with teaching.


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