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Clay BOE Exploring Virtual Options For 21-22

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Clay BOE Exploring Virtual Options For 21-22

The Clay County Board of Education is considering using a third party virtual learning provider for the 2021-2022 school year.

If approved, students that choose virtual learning will be taught by licensed teachers employed through Edgenuity. Director of Schools Matt Eldridge said he thinks the program is needed as teachers have became overwhelmed with teaching in-person and virtually.

“We are just looking for next year, I know it is early, but we have to look for what we are going to do,” Eldridge said. “And, I think it is going to give us relief for the teacher’s stress, and they are working hard, but they are almost over worked right now. It will be a more unified program for all the students and all the grades, so that is what I hope we adopt.”

Edgenuity would be academically responsible, but students would still count as Clay County students. The company uses a self paced curriculum that meets Tennessee standards with textbooks provided. Eldridge said BEP funding plays a role in the decision with over 80 students now home schooled.

“We are going to approach them again, Eldridge said. “We want every parent in the county to have the option they want whether it is home school or virtual school or in the class room, but we are going to approach the home school parents and always give them the chance to come back to school or do virtual. We are going to try and present the same program to them.”

During Thursday’s school board meeting, Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor Misty Strong presented the proposed plan. The school system would pay just over $1,000 per virtual student per semester and be in charge of providing RTI, art, music and physical education. Only the four core subjects are provided through Edgenuity.

Strong said the school system has until April to make a decision. Price tag is the main concern right now as the Board of Education requested for more numbers for January’s meeting.

Eldridge said plans are preliminary, but virtual learning looks to be a semester long dedication next year. In-person teachers would still teach virtually to students on medical quarantine, since the two curriculums differ in pace.


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