Seymour schools introducing eLearning


Seymour Community School Corp. is gearing up for its first eLearning day next spring.

To prepare for this method of educating students when they aren’t in the classroom, there will be a practice day this week.

On Thursday, teachers will take time during the school day to go over procedures to make sure students understand what to do on the district’s first official planned eLearning day April 24. On that day, students will not have to go to school but will still have to complete work.

Assistant Superintendent Lisa Ferguson said she doesn’t want people to get confused and keep their kids home Thursday. School will be in session as normal.

"Teachers will show students where they will access lessons and have a practice one for them to do and answer any questions," Ferguson said of what will take place Thursday. "It’s truly just a day for kids to learn about what will happen on (April) 24th."

Ferguson encourages parents to talk to their kids about eLearning and to communicate any questions or concerns with school officials. 

"We’ll revisit it several times," she said. "We have some letters and information that will go out to parents and community partners just to let them know what to expect and where they can get resources."

The corporation conducted meetings about eLearning for parents, the community and school staff last May.

The Indiana Department of Education started the eLearning program eight years ago as an option for school districts to conduct instructional days away from the traditional time limits and brick and mortar setting of a classroom.

It was devised as a way for students to complete schoolwork and receive instruction when school is canceled due to inclement weather so schools do not have to make up those missed days.

The key is for the online work to cover the same content that would have been addressed in the classroom if school was in session, Ferguson said.

The intent of eLearning is not to give teachers a paid day off or give students busy work, she said.

To have eLearning, all students must have access to an electronic device at home, such as a school-issued Chromebook, a desktop computer, a laptop, an iPad or a cellphone.

Seymour currently is a 1:1 district, meaning all students have an electronic device to use. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade do not take the devices home, however.

Students who do not have internet access at home will have other options for completing their work, including going to another location, such as the library, or downloading the lessons to their Chromebook before they leave school.

Schools will be open on planned eLearning days so parents can decide if their students stay home and do the work online or go to school.

Teachers will be available during eLearning days to answer questions from students and parents either by email or telephone. Ferguson said the district also will have a hotline for people to call for instructional and technical questions.

Attendance is determined by completion of assignments. Students who do not complete assignments during the designated window are marked absent.

She also said the district is working on ways to make sure other details are covered, including access to meals.

Ferguson said different feeding options may be available on planned eLearning days, including both school and community meal sites.

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