At least 3,000 students register for the “Online Academy”

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The Midland ISD Online Academy will start with at least 3,000 students, according to the district Academy director.

Lisa Goodnow told The Reporter-Telegram last week that more than 10% of the district’s student body has committed to starting the 2020-21 school year in the fully virtual learning option.

The online academy is different from the general student body who learns at home during the first four weeks of the school year. Midland ISD has announced plans to launch the academy after receiving feedback from the community. Students who enrolled in the academy are committed to learning at home regardless of the district’s reintegration process.


The Midland ISD school year begins on Wednesday.

“The Online Academy will build on the work started last spring to provide a richer and more solid online learning experience for families who choose this option,” Superintendent Orlando Riddick said in a press release during of the academy’s announcement.

Goodnow told Reporter-Telegram that the online academy is not the result of MISD turning the responsibility for online learning over to another source to create a “turnkey online school.” She said the program will be the same as that for students who wish to participate in face-to-face learning; the district does not want “learning gaps because they were part of the scope, sequence and content of someone else’s curriculum.”

Those participating in the online academy may choose to revert to an on-campus teaching format at the end of the six-week periods.

“We want our Midland students to be able to come back to a Midland ISD classroom face to face and not miss a thing,” Goodnow said.

She said online learning will be different from what students and parents experienced last spring. She also said that it was a product of MISD staff and was not modeled on the state or country online programs.

“We relied primarily on advice from (the Texas Education Agency),” Goodnow said. “The TEA has a wealth of resources that we have been able to use and exploit. We also used our own resources here at Midland ISD which we were able to integrate into virtual settings. But the idea of ​​going 100% turnkey with a different model did not meet the needs of Midland ISD.

Midland ISD asked parents this summer about virtual learning options. Of the 13,690 responses from families, over 50.6% said they were interested in the full-time virtual learning option.

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Q&A with Lisa Goodnow

Lisa Goodnow is the Academic Director of Midland ISD. Last week, she spent time talking about education with the Reporter-Telegram. Here are some questions and answers about the district’s online academy.

TRM: How many people have registered for the Academy online?

Lisa Goodnow: As of (Thursday), the last time I heard this data point, it was over 3000.

TRM: Was there an online academy elsewhere that Midland ISD will use as a model for its online academy?

Lisa Goodnow: One of the things I’m really excited and proud of about Midland ISD is that when we know we can do better, we’re not going to go to another source to create a turnkey online school.

And there (are) many reasons why we chose to align the Midland ISD Online Academy with the full Midland ISD at home or – when we’re face to face – some type of blended program. And one of the biggest reasons for this is that we know some families start out in this virtual environment for six weeks. And when they’re comfortable bringing their students back to face-to-face learning, we don’t want to have to navigate even more learning gaps because they were in scope, sequence and time. content of someone else’s curriculum. We want our Midland students to be able to come back to a face-to-face Midland ISD classroom and not miss a thing.

TRM: The online academy is strictly for those who want to have this online experience, right?

Lisa Goodnow: This is true, but we know that we have created different models that have virtual learning. We have the operational Google Classroom platform. It’s a very different feeling than it was last spring. Consistency in each class was important, so parents didn’t have to learn three or four different ways to navigate. Again, we thought it was important to have the same platform for students who will either be 100% virtual on Wednesday or a blended learning model when we embrace this timeline. So it’s the same. It’s the same platform and the same content. There will just be, you know, more if you’re 100% virtual.

TRM: So Midland ISD didn’t necessarily look at a DeSoto model or a model that has worked elsewhere and said, these are the general ideas that we’re going to use for kids only online?

Lisa Goodnow: No, we did.

TRM: Who were some of those you followed?

Lisa Goodnow: There was one district that we looked at quite deeply in Colorado. And then I looked at the DeSoto model, which I think they still use a lot of on their own program. But we mainly relied on advice from TEA. TEA has a wealth of resources that we have been able to use and draw upon. We also used our own resources here at Midland ISD which we were able to integrate into virtual settings. But the idea of ​​going 100% turnkey with a different model did not meet the needs of Midland ISD.


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