Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — The Mt. Pleasant Community School District’s remote learning program for the 2020-2021 school year has been one with ups and downs.
From exhausted teachers and students, to a switch to a curriculum vendor for online classes before second semester, the program has changed in form almost constantly.
That being said, the woes of online learning are soon to come to an end with Mt. Pleasant Community School District planning to move all students back to face-to-face learning in the fall.
With the second semester almost completed, the district has had time to digest and examine Edgenuity, its effects on students and how it will work with the school district in the future. Katie Gavin, the district’s curriculum director, has been instrumental in its implementation.
The program has been widely successful among the students taking classes online, especially those who were eager for the switch.
So far the program is a success with 60 remote learners with 67 percent within norm ranges for completing their classes and 33 percent not on pace to complete their classes by May 28.
“The remote learning program for the second semester has progressed as expected with the students who are engaged and have the support systems in their home environment to be successful,” Gavin said.
With special electives and more ability and focus on online learning than what the district could offer, the Edgenuity program has been a vast improvement for student, according to Katie Gavin.
“Due to Edgenuity's expertise in online learning, students have access to a more cohesive learning platform,” Gavin said.
The program has worked seamlessly for the district allowing them to focus on face-to-face learning instead of having to pull their teachers in multiple directions.
“It takes time and resources to have seamless online learning, and we had found that while our teachers are excellent, there is always a learning curve when trying to both teach and implement so quickly without the proper training,” Gavin said.
That being said it is hard to compare the programs, according to Gavin.
“The two programs are a struggle to compare. Again, Edgenuity has experience, and it’s wheelhouse is online learning. MPCSD's wheelhouse is face-to-face instruction,” she said.
With the fall semester approaching quickly the district has begun talking about reintegration and what learning will look like for the district in the fall and whether or not to offer online learning in the fall.
The district is planning on having all K-12 students face-to-face this fall or have them back in the classroom.
This could be a struggle after online learning was below standards for instruction, the Iowa Legislature has passed a law requiring schools to be in person 100 percent of the time, excluding students in online learning programs.
The district is making plans to reintegrate students back into the classroom this fall and are continuing to meet the needs of all district students during the pandemic.
The district is investigating becoming a virtual learning institution, according to Gavin. They are looking at the steps it would take for the district to host an online academy, similar to the Des Moines program.