• 68°

Virtual versus in person teaching

Polk County Board of Education June meeting notes

 

Polk County students may soon have the option to attend school virtually rather than in the traditional in-classroom setting.
At their monthly meeting on Monday, June 15, the Polk County Board of Education approved further exploration and development of virtual and remote learning options for students who may not be able to attend school in person.
Citing the recent school closure for the Covid-19 pandemic, district administrators feel strongly that these types of learning options may be wanted and needed by parents and families. While Polk County Superintendent Aaron Greene explained to the board the importance of and made the recommendation to develop these types of options for students, he also made it clear that in-person instruction remains the best option for students.
“Polk County Schools has always believed that the best teaching and learning for students is in the classroom with a caring and qualified teacher and receiving the benefit of working with their peers,” Greene said. “The end of last school year showed us that this may not always be possible. We are also aware that some students and families may have reservations about sending their students back to school in the fall. We want to have a quality alternative for those students.
“Given the large number of families who do not have access to the internet through reliable broadband service, whatever we develop will also need to be able to be shared and delivered in paper-and-pencil format.”
Greene went on to point out that the county’s homeschool students could also benefit from the development of these instructional service options. Any school-age student would be eligible to enroll in courses and receive access to curriculum, a local certified teacher and supplies and materials at no cost to them.
Though perhaps a bit biased, Greene believes Polk County Schools, consistently recognized as one of the top districts in North Carolina, can do a better job than other for-profit online academies or national programs.
“We know that our students do best when they are in-person with our teachers,” Greene said. “In my opinion, the next best option would be to take advantage of our virtual, remote and hybrid options, delivered by local teachers and supported by one of the best districts in North Carolina, Polk County Schools.”
Greene informed the board that they would receive ongoing updates about the program and that families will be contacted later in the summer to gather feedback on enrollment plans for this fall.
Polk County Schools also continues to seek input from students and families to help in developing remote learning options. Interested parties can contact Greene at 828-894-3051 or agreene@polkschools.org.
Other highlights from the meeting:
• Director of Curriculum and Instruction Ronette Dill provided an update on parent and teacher remote learning survey results, She discussed the district’s professional development plan for the upcoming school year.
• Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director Della Frye presented the district’s Local CTE Plan that outlines goals and areas of focus for career and technical programs.
• The Board approved a “Phase 1” restart of athletic workouts with North Carolina High School Athletic Association-recommended health and safety precautions in place.
• The Board approved 2020-2021 Academic Calendars with updates resulting from legislative changes.
• The Board approved several budget amendments and a roofing project that will resurface individual buildings at Polk Central, Sunny View and Tryon Elementary schools.
• The Board approved an additional June meeting date for June 29 to address year-end fiscal items, and changed the regular July meeting date to July 27 to accommodate reopening planning and protocol discussions.
• Superintendent Greene provided a summary of the current Department of Health and Human Services reopening guidance with the understanding that requirements and recommendations can and will change before the August 17 start date.