INDIANAPOLIS – School districts are already looking forward to the fall and for many in central Indiana, virtual learning will be a part of the plan.
“This is our office area,” said Principal Matthew Dodson. “We’re on the elementary side of things.”
Dodson gave us a tour of what will become Achieve Virtual.
“When we think about our students and what we can offer them, we want to reach as many students as we can,” he added.
Right now, it looks like a work in progress. That’s because the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township is transforming Lakeview Christian Church’s empty hallways and classrooms into spaces to teach students.
Most of the instruction will be online. There will be some in-person teaching as well.
“The emphasis is on mobility and flexibility,” Dodson said. This gives families the chance to choose, and gives teachers more options.
“They’ve been our at-home teachers this year. A lot of them realized, ‘Hey I like this too,’” he explained.
Wayne Township has had a virtual high school in place for the past 10 years called Achieve Virtual Education Academy. Its success and the pandemic forced Superintendent Jeff Butts to see what can be done to also help the younger students, which resulted in the creation of Achieve Virtual K-6 and Achieve Virtual 7-8 for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.
“I think one of the greatest challenges will be to figure out which model works best, because there are all kinds of models out there that different districts are using,” said Dr. Butts.
In Lawrence Township there will be in-person, hybrid and full virtual learning options in the fall.
For MSD of Pike Township families, they too can decide on a virtual option. However, middle and high schoolers won’t have daily live instruction from a teacher.
And for Indianapolis Public Schools, a partnership with two other schools will allow virtual opportunities for students who want to stay online.
“We really do believe the best option for students is in front of their teacher in their brick and mortar classroom,” said Dr. Butts. “But we know the last 18 months has taught us a lot of new lessons.”
At the end of the day, districts are focused on creating an environment for all types of learners.
“This provides an option for those students who one, loved the virtual option the last 18 months and two, aren’t quite ready to come back into a full classroom of students,” Butts added.
The first nine weeks of the upcoming school year for Achieve Virtual will be entirely online.