OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “It’s been a great journey learning with my students,” said OKCPS teacher Sadoka Chandler.
It’s a journey that’s been filled with ups and downs for the district.
“Just because everything was so ‘oh my gosh, we gotta do this stuff,’ and the fact that we’re trying to build things as we go, there were surprises we wish we didn’t have… we won’t have that this year,” said Director of Online Learning, Kenny Ward.
This coming school year, they are continuing their e3 program without some of the initial kinks.
They say the plan now is for it to always be an option.
“We just have to step up to the plate and begin to offer a more robust, and world class virtual offering for these families which is why we’re doing this,” said Ward.
About 4,000 students are enrolled right now, and administration says they think a large number of those students will return online.
“We found that this is something that there are families that it really works for and that they really like,” said Assistant Director of Online Learning, Carson Cramer.
School leaders also say some of their online students have been the most successful.
“Out of the whole district, it was our e3 kids that were scoring the highest on those benchmarks,” said Ward.
Parents now have a course that will show them what this program entails before their kids start.
“It’s not something that you can put a kid in front of, and it’s going to teach them to read. There’s support needed from the teacher and the parents,” said Cramer.
Next year, online students will have required synchronous sessions every day, which is something teachers say will help with consistency.
“I’m always seeking out ways, just like in brick and mortar you know to keep them engaged and keep them focused and keep that same energy going throughout the year,” said Chandler.
They’ve also added a special education team to the e3 staff, to help walk students through that program.
Kids in middle and high schools who opt in to virtual learning, will still be able to participate in extracurricular activities in-person.
If field trips are safe, virtual students can take part in those too.