BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - While many schools have announced that they will move forward with traditional schooling this fall, there is still some uncertainty on if that will happen and how it will look.
The Batesville School District, however, has found a way to put parents’ concerns to rest with a virtual academy.
“We know that some parents may just feel more comfortable keeping their kids at home because of the new environment or what people are calling the new normal. We want to make that option available so that our students can learn from their home if that gives them a more comfortable place to do that," Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Douglas said.
The district has considered launching a virtual school option for about two years now and while it was in the works before COVID-19, one official says now was the perfect time to roll it out.
They say it starts with everyone being comfortable. For the parents who may still have concerns about sending their children back or even if during these times, if you have noticed that you and your student work better through online learning, officials said the opportunity is for you.
The virtual school will run simultaneously with the traditional school if it is open this fall.
Students Kindergarten through 12 will have the option to start the virtual school and switch back to traditional school, if it doesn’t work for the student and or the other way around.
Last year, the district had around 10 students who worked virtually with teachers due for various reasons. Douglas says this is something they are prepared for.
“We want to make sure that we’re not just talking the talk, but we’re walking the walk. We want to make sure that we can provide that quality education for kids rather it’s on-site with a Batesville schoolteacher or if it’s at home with their parents learning through Google Meet. I know we all have had a really steep learning curve with all the Zoom meetings and the Google Meets but I think it has shown us that we all are ready for the challenge," Douglas said.
She says they will hire more teachers if they are needed for the virtual classroom or in-house.
As far as funding, the school will be able to support the new academy with its same budget. They will use some CARES Act funding to get the K-6 online curriculum in place since this is the first time they will offer that course work to those grade levels virtually.
The curriculum will be the same as on-campus learning. Students will be able to connect with their teachers through Google Meet and the work will be tailored and personalized, unlike a self-paced program.
The district is a one to one district, so all students will be supplied with a Chromebook. If students have connectivity problems, the district can also provide up to 60 hot spots to students.
Douglas says they want them to still be a part of Pioneer Nation even if that means educating them in the comfort of their own homes.
For more information contact Jennifer Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-793-6831.