Virtual learning in Oklahoma keeps kids learning during snow days

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FORT GIBSON, Okla. (KJRH)– Snow days no longer mean cancelling lessons for one Green County school district. Fort Gibson students are hitting the books even when the weather forces their schools to close.

Yesterday, nearly 1,900 Fort Gibson Public School students stayed home due to icy roads around town. But from pre-K through high school, students did not fall behind in the classroom.

Today, Kimberly Morgan is going over yesterday’s math assignment with her 7th grade class. Students worked on this assignment during Monday’s snow day.

When attending class from home, students can access lessons and complete assignments online during snow days, which helps teachers keep their classes on track.

“It is very hard when we have extended snow days because we get behind before state testing. If we miss a few days, we end up going back and reviewing,” Morgan said.

As a pilot program last year, Fort Gibson’s superintendent says they received approval from the Department of Education to make it a permanent snow day alternative.

“We feel this is a better option instead of trying to make up days at the end of the year or adding minutes on at the end of the day,” Superintendent Derald Glover said.

Students can call or email their teacher if they have questions about the online work.

“We put notes, we put videos, we put their worksheets. They act just like it is a regular school day, but they get to be in their pajamas.”

And since nearly a quarter of Fort Gibson students do not have internet at home, if a snow day looks possible, teachers send those students home with a packet of homework and instructions.

Students are seeing the benefits.

“A student last year in particular that said she wouldn’t have passed the state test if she had not had the two virtual days where she working on the content for the test.”

Fort Gibson staff will meet to discuss what is and what is not working with the online system.

Fort Gibson’s superintendent says he believes his school district is the only one in the state with a permanent virtual classroom system. But the idea appears to be spreading to other districts.

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