By Noah Alatza
Westfield Washington Schools could soon replace make-up snow days with e-learning days.
District spokeswoman Kate Snedeker said administrators want to add e-learning days this year but the final decision will be made during the Sept. 11 WWS Board of Trustees meeting.
If approved, instead of missing class on snow days, students would be able to access their course materials from home.
“Technology is already being utilized every day in our schools,” said Lynn Schemel, WWS’s director of organizational systems, assessment and analysis. “We want to mimic the academic work as much as possible during weather or other cancellation days.”
She said there is a three-fold implementation process, beginning with professional development for teachers.
“First, we have been working on professional learning for teachers, having them learn the management system,” she said. “Some teachers have been using it already, but we will utilize Wednesday mornings (for delayed start) or at other times to get everyone up to speed. The first few days students will be getting on and learning about them.”
Google Classroom is used in K-4 classes. Blackboard-based Canvas is utilized for grades 5-12.
The district will work differently with each grade level.
For grades 7-12, assignments will be posted at 9 a.m. with a 48-hour window to complete them on days when classes are canceled. Grades K-6 will be given a 10-day window to complete assignments.
“Bring your own device” will be for grades 7-12. Grades 6-9 will be given a Chromebook as part of their textbook rental fee. Grades K-5 will use devices available on technology carts.
Schemel noted that too many e-learning days would be inappropriate.
“We value the teacher being the facilitator and that hand-on approach,” she said. “If we get too many days off it is going to be a blend of e-learning and regular days.”
According to Indiana Dept. of Education records, 51 school districts use e-learning programs.
For more, visit wws.k12.in.us.