ANDERSON — Though some schools and districts serving students in Madison County and nearby districts already have taken eLearning days, not everyone has scheduled a practice date.
Liberty Christian School in January actually became the first in the area to use eLearning days. The two days were used to allow the high school students and staff to heal from the flu and to disinfect the school.
“It worked out very well. No negatives,” said Superintendent Jay McCurry.
However, the school did have a practice eLearning day before the scheduled days,” he said.
“I highly recommend schools spend some time educating students on what an eLearning day needs to look like,” he said. “Students were more confident as they went into an eLearning day, and we found the overall student engagement to be nearly 100 percent.”
Anderson Community Schools Superintendent Timothy Smith said his district already has had both a practice day and usage days. The district uses them for teacher professional development, snow makeup days and parent-teacher conferences.
“As with any new program, there were a few glitches. but overall the days were successful. Teachers were asked to provide us with feedback and we have already implemented some of the changes,” he said.
One issue, for instance has been deciding how much work to assign.
“We are looking closely at student assignments for the day and determining a just-right length of work time. We allow students one week to complete the work for various reasons, but mostly for students who do not have access to the internet in the home,” he said.
But technology appears to be a barrier for some districts that have not yet applied for eLearning days.
Joe Buck, superintendent at South Madison Community Schools, and Ron Green, superintendent at Shenandoah School Corp., said the availability of technology for all students has slowed down their entry into the use of eLearning days. The days require students to have access to a device such as an iPad or Chromebook.
Green said this is the first school year his district has been able to go entirely 1:1, or One to One, in grades K-12.
“Our calendar has always provided enough makeup days that eLearning days have not been necessary. And, I believe, SSC student achievement has been such we did not need to rush into an eLearning program,” he said.
However, Green said, his district has conducted two practice eLearning days during school hours in each building.
“The practice days have been valuable and should assist teachers and students in preparation for eLearning days during inclement weather if they are needed this school year,” he said. “Our principals and teachers will continue to explore the merits of eLearning days for SSC students and how best to incorporate their use in our academic programs.”
Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter @rebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.