LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tuesday marked the start of the new school year for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) students, teachers, and staff. Due to the coroanvirus pandemic, at least the first six weeks of the school year will include virtual learning. 

What You Need To Know

  • JCPS starts first day of NTI 2.0

  • Online learning will be in place for at least first six weeks of school year

  • Superintendent Pollio discusses how NTI 2.0 will be different

  • JCPS has passed out 23,474 Chromebooks

The district is calling this round of online learning NTI 2.0. Spectrum News 1 caught up with Superintendent Dr. Marty Polio Tuesday morning to ask how NTI 2.0 is different than the online instruction in the spring when the pandemic first hit.

“We were proud of the work we did in the spring. We turned on a dime to go from in class learning to implementing NTI for 100,000 students. We learned lot during that,” Polio said. "As we move into fall, we’ve had time to really dig into it and recreate school.”

Chief Academic Officer Karmen Coleman  said this fall will have more synchronous learning than in the spring, meaning there will be more live video interaction with teachers.

“The student experience and parent experience will seem much more organized and consistent," Coleman said. "There will be higher expectations for what students should do day-to-day and what kind of work they should produce.”

Chief Information Officer Kermit Belcher said increasing access to technology is an important element for this round of NTI. JCPS has been working to get families Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots. He said the district has passed out 23,474 Chromebooks.

That's just one way the district has been preparing for the new school year throughout the summer. For Ronda Colby, the Grace James Academy principal, that's been even more challenging. She is the principal at the new Grace James Academy, an all girls middle school focused on Afrocentric studies and STEAM programs. While it hasn't been easy to open a new school during a pandemic, Colby said she is excited to start serving her students.

“Our girls are excited. Our families are excited. Yesterday, we had our material pick up. Out of 150 families, 141 showed up. It was the first time we saw that many families at one time. Most of it has been virtual," Colby said.

While kids go about NTI, JCPS is aware it can be a challenge for working parents. Teacher Allison Varisco knows the struggle of that juggling act all to well, as she is a mom of three. She said, to make this successful, it will take some patience and understanding.

“We will have five people working online either through Zoom meetings at work or Google Meets for school. We will have to have flexibility with that and lots of communication. I’ve been over communicating with my families, so they know what the expectations are on them and their students,” Varisco said.

Dr. Polio said if you have any questions about NTI 2.0, just reach out to your child's school or teacher. You can also call 313-HELP if you need any assistance.