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Associated Press, USA TODAY
GALION – A new online academy will offer Galion students an alternative to returning to class this fall.
Galion City Schools announced this week that it will be launching the Galion Online Academy with the start of the new school year. Jennifer Allerding, the new superintendent, said the online academy is an option some families need.
“Obviously we would like our children to be in classrooms with our teachers, I think that’s ideal,” she said. “But you know what? It’s not ideal in everyone’s world, so we just have to make it work. I think we have a good plan; we have good teachers and so I think our kids will have a good experience.”
Allerding said the district has offered an online option for the past two years.
“We’ve used it for credit recovery, we’ve offered blended options to some of our students who needed it. So we’ve already launched it and used it with our students and housed some of our families, ” she said. “Obviously with everything that happened last year and the year ahead, what it looks like, we wanted to provide more options for our families. …
“We have a lot of children who have health issues, high risk family members and so when this all started we were already thinking about those students and this option made sense. We try to be as flexible as possible and give everyone options that will work for their families.”
Available for all classes
The option will be available to all Galion students, from kindergarten to senior year. This includes students who enroll freely in the district.
The program will be overseen by two Galion teachers, with one teacher working exclusively with elementary students and the other teacher working with high school students, according to a district press release. Teachers will be announced before the start of the school year.
“We’ve added a primary teacher, which is new, to help support some of our young children,” Allerding said.
Students who choose to enroll in the Galion Online Academy will have the opportunity to work with a district-employed programming coordinator and choose from a wide variety of electives, the press release states. All Galion Online Academy students will receive an iPad to use to complete their courses.
“Our initial idea is that we will do the registration first, have our teachers contact the families to arrange an orientation,” Allerding said. “They can go over the expectations, check out the curriculum, sit down with the family and the student just to get them familiar with the system and how to use it. We’re also going to allow families to sign up for time to lab, so if they want their child to come into a much smaller, more restricted environment to work with a teacher, we’re going to make that an option as well, so there will be contact between the teacher and the student.
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“We also have services that we can provide through our advisors. We are currently working with our food service to provide meals for families at home if they want to take advantage of them. So we try to touch all aspects at home. outside academics also when we work with our children.”
The lessons are at your own pace
There will be a lot of contact between the students and their teacher, who will monitor their progress.
“The lessons are self-paced, so it’s an online program,” Allerding said. “It’s a little different from what most of our students experienced at the end of the year when teachers were zooming in, sending packages home and from work. Everything is strictly online. It’s up to your pace.”
Details, including registration details for students and families, will be available no later than July 15, according to the district’s press release.
If demand exceeds expectations, the district “will adapt to whatever comes up,” Allerding said.
“We will hopefully try to open registrations at the end of this week, beginning of next week, so that can give us a good idea here next month of what this interest looks like and give us the time to be able to accommodate and work with all of our families and all of our students to make this work,” she said.
Allerding said she wanted families to know that district officials “work very hard, trying to come up with options that would make sense for their family and help their family.”
“I certainly know that everyone has decisions to make because they have different comfort levels,” she said. “We’re just trying to be as supportive as possible and give options.”