Midland Online Academy will be overhauled

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Midland ISD’s efforts to educate students online have failed to meet community expectations for academic rigor, starting with the district’s online academy, Acting Superintendent Ann Dixon said Thursday.

Its assessment is consistent with comments from district leaders, parents, campus leaders and teachers on issues related to Midland ISD Online Academy.

During this week’s school board meeting, district leaders lobbied central office staff over the academy’s shortcomings, including issues of staffing and academic achievement. Some of those issues came to light on Thursday, when Dixon told Reporter-Telegram that the Midland ISD Online Academy‘s failure rate was between 60 and 70 percent. She also said that while the high school attendance rate averages around 96%, it has been around 90% for those participating online.

Other issues are teacher scheduling issues, inability to monitor student participation, and protocol interruptions, including reports that some principals had to make up to 20 edits to e-learning lists. and mixed per day when the plan was to allow changes to occur. during a small window.

“The first six weeks seem dismal,” Dixon said.

Dixon also said that those who participate in blended learning – in which students attend classes on campus two days a week and participate in home learning the other three days – do not receive the necessary instruction when they are are off campus.

The current state of the program, which has been in place since the start of the school year on August 19, was not what district leaders expected. The online academy appeared to be in transition since planning began. District leaders explained during the board meeting that the academy could not deviate from the proposed campus program assigned to a student. In addition, there were no separate teacher lists as originally planned.

A district announcement on Thursday focused on the school reintegration plan. But Dixon said it was important to communicate issues with the academy online. She said it was important to note that from that point on, teachers would be assigned to face-to-face learning or the online academy. If a student switches from one to the other, the professors will therefore follow the same resources are there to allow a “curriculum with the same rigor”, whether the student is on campus or at home.

“It’s something that we haven’t been able to monitor well,” Dixon said.

She said there may be occasions when online courses from different campuses can be combined so that there are sufficient numbers of students to form a class. She used the example of French IV where there might not be enough students online at just Lee High or Midland High.

“We can refocus now,” Dixon said. “Stronger teachers could be placed in difficult delivery systems, knowing that they could (eventually) come back to campus. “

Dixon said the changes to the online academy were a case of leadership having conversations with principals about the state of the program and the need to do what is best for teachers and achieve success. school.

She said all district employees are focusing on the academy as the only option for elementary students who don’t want to be on campus from October 5 and for high school students from November 9. She also said it was important to communicate to the public that the online academy exists as an alternative due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Finally, she said there was no time to waste as the coronavirus pandemic has left educators behind. She said students cannot continue to fall behind after wasting months of teaching, especially “in a district struggling with performance.”

“We have to step it up,” Dixon said.


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