The District 204 School Board sets action to the e-learning program


Isabella Villalobos

Superintendent Karen Sullivan and School Board members smile after a successful quorum.

The District 204 Board held a public hearing at Neuqua Valley High School in regards to approval of e-learning days during scheduled emergency days, commonly known as snow days, on Aug. 28. This action opts for a five hour online course of assignments for that day in replacement to making up emergency days at the end of the year. 

The quorum started off with Chief Academic Officer Kathy Pease and Director of Core Curriculum in High Schools, Michael Purcell, where they explained how the program will work and gave emphasis to the boards intended agenda in applying this program. 

The resources and activities will consist of “Watching a video at home, and then coming into school to have a discussion” and “reading a part of a reading text and then responding to it online or creating a project,” Pease said.

Each student will be given any form of an assignments through Google Classroom or other online classroom resources as typical in-classroom instruction . As well as providing an opportunity of blended classroom learning, the board wants to set out certain academic qualities to their students through K1-K12. 

“We saw some real connections to district priorities around social emotional learning, the aspect of self management, and responsible decision making aspects. Those are the things that we want from our students as they come through our system; it is a chance to practice those in real life,” Purcell said. 

The agenda of the program is to provide learning opportunities for not just in the classroom but as a step towards individualization in each student’s academic success. In gear towards the highschool students in the district, the board also took in consideration of the students who take AP level classes where the learning agendas of each day are on a fixed schedule for the AP test at the end. This program will act as an alternative and solution to the lesson cramming in the course calendar that often occurs after scheduled emergency days. 

Due to the fact that the e-learning program would take place in the home of every student, there was the common question of how this program will look to the students who may not have at home Wifi or who are in special circumstances. The Board proposed their plan over how their tech team is working towards providing hotspot to the students who may not have internet or tools at home when needed. In alternative to that, the school board explained their intended flexibility and support over how if the resources cannot be given to the student(s) prior, they will be given afterwards and are not to be counted as an absence. 

The student reaction to this program is something that the School Board wanted to take into consideration as well. Twelfth Grader Advin Palle expressed his opinion and thought over the benefits and reaction the program will have within his high school class. 

 “I think it will be beneficial for kids in AP classes because the AP schedule is a fixed schedule, but for kids who aren’t in AP classes I think it’s just like a waste of time honestly. I think they will be on top of it but if it’s not organized and stuff, then they’ll just take it as a regular snow day” Palle said. 

The next step of this approved program will be speaking to the Regional Offices of Education for verification then trickle down to having the district staff send the program to teachers and parents where it can be further talked and explained to students and families of this upcoming program.