Online learning in Greeley-Evans School District 6 will continue beyond this school year with the establishment of an online school starting in the next school year.
The school, named District 6 Online Academy, was a response to students and families who remain interested in an after-school learning option due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Assistant Superintendent of Academic Achievement Stacie Datteri.
The school will accommodate approximately 550 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
“For some students and their families, having this type of learning opportunity works well for them for different reasons, and we want to continue to provide this opportunity,” Datteri said.
The District 6 School Board, at its Monday meeting, waived its role of approving the name of the new school, as part of district policy, and ceded in the name of the superintendent’s school. Deirdre Pilch. At the meeting, Pilch acknowledged the unusual step for her in six years as superintendent to ask the board to waive the policy. But, said Pilch, convening a committee to appoint an online school “seems artificial and, frankly, a waste of time.”
The board unanimously approved the waiver in a 6-0 vote, to allow the district to retain the name that was used to designate the new school. Council member Pepper Mueller was absent.
Sheila Bowman, Principal of the Inspire4 K-12 Online School in the Weld RE-4 School District, will assume the same role with the School in District 6.
Weld RE-4, serving Windsor and Severance students, announced earlier this year that it is discontinuing Inspire4 after this year due to a lack of early enrollments.
Bowman, with over 25 years of study, said she realized that the District 6 online academy would be a ‘perfect fit’ after exploring other opportunities in the wake of the announcement. on Inspire4. Prior to working as Director of Inspire4, Bowman spent approximately a decade at Weld RE-4 as an education technology specialist.
“It feels a lot like being in a brick and mortar school,” Bowman said. “You help students and teachers succeed. It’s really about tracking and trying to deliver engagement solutions and implement systems to reach kids.
Datteri said the district will launch the online academy at a cost of around $ 3 million. This will cover the cost of staff, supplies and teaching materials. The school will launch with around 550 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, Datteri said. Sixteen students from other school districts are currently enrolled for 2021-2022.
Datteri said the district is considering around 30 teachers for K-12 students, including professionals teaching culturally and linguistically diverse classes as well as special classes such as art and music.
Datteri said that compared to the district’s current online model, the new academy will be “very similar” for elementary and secondary school students. The academy will use the District 6 curriculum for students at these levels.
The biggest difference for elementary school students in the online academy will be a smaller student-teacher ratio. There will also be more options for special courses such as art, music and physical education.
Datteri said middle school kids in the online academy will meet with teachers more regularly and high school kids will learn from different teachers, instead of just teachers from their home high schools.