CLASSROOM DEFECTIONS CLEAR PATH FOR SECOND ONLINE CURRICULUM AT DICKSON COUNTY SCHOOLS

By Dave Barkholz

Dickson County Schools is considering a second fully online school option for parents who fear sending their kids back to school in the fall.
The distance-learning option would use content created and delivered by district teachers, said Robbie Faulkner, director of secondary education for Dickson County Schools.
Speaking on the Power Lunch Tuesday on 101.5 The One and WDKN, Faulkner said the district may proceed with the new program if enough parents say they are not sending their kids back to school August 3rd under any circumstances.
The district flat out asked parents about their intent to return their children in the fall in a 10-question survey sent to the households of all 8,300 district students.
If enough parents say they won’t because of the coronavirus threat, the district could offer the online option to keep them in the district fold, Faulkner said.
The option would be available even if students are invited back to the classroom full-time.
It would work for teachers as well. Teachers displaced by the return of fewer students could be redeployed to build and teach a new online program, she said.
A second online offering would be in addition to and not replace a new fully online option that the district just introduced for K-8 students developed and taught by educational vendor Edgenuity, Faulkner said. Those parents who want the Edgenuity coursework this fall can proceed with that.
Parents and the district are wrestling with how the school year will start August 3rd given that the coronavirus has not disappeared.
As of now, Dickson County’s infection rates are relatively low, suggesting that the district can open to a normal, five-day classroom setting in the fall. That’s the district’s desired outcome, Faulkner said.
But that opening will depend on how prevalent the disease is in the county and region as the school year approaches.
If six-foot social distancing is required, kids may end up again taking all classes online as they did this spring. This year, however, would be for credit.
Or students may have to come to school in shifts with half coming two days of the week and the other half another two days. In that case, three days of the school week would be online, presenting several concerns, including massive childcare headaches for parents.
In just the first 24 hours since the district survey went to parents via email and online, 2,635 households have responded, representing easily one-third of the district’s student body.
Responses will help determine how big classes are in the fall, how many students will be riding buses and whether the district should start its own homegrown online curriculum.

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