COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Columbus City Schools will have a new option when it comes to digital learning for the 2021-22 school year. The district plans to move forward with in-person learning five days a week in the Fall.
The new option is called BlendED. It will have Columbus City teachers at the helm of instruction where Digital Academy was reliant on a platform for teaching.
Parents will have to make a decision by the end of the month if this new option is for them.
“BlendED is what we want to call the revamping of our current Digital Academy,” said Alyse Clark who is the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning for Columbus City Schools.
The program will be based on CCS Curriculum with more one-on-one interaction between teachers and students in that digital environment.
“We’re excited because we get to open up a school with full-time teachers, full-time dedicated teachers which is way different than what happened last year with more personalization and options for families,” said Clark.
The digital academy was implemented because of the pandemic and was mainly software based.
Parent Vanessa Savage feels that it’s a good idea.
“The kid is still also connected with the extracurricular activities and the sports. I think it’s a really good option for those families that aren’t, in particular, on board with the five days a week that they’re going to try and implement for next year,” she said.
Enrollment signups will be available starting May 17th through the 28th on the parent portal.
The district says there will be a cap of 2 thousand students. District-wide, there are upwards of 50 thousand students.
“I don’t think locking people in this early before we’ve seen the actual effects of all of those changes is fair to parents,” said parent Amanda Thaxton.
She does like the idea and added, “Because it’s basically making them make a decision when there is a lot of information they don’t have yet.”
Thaxton said parents may feel differently depending on COVID later in the Summer. Families will have to commit to the program for a full year and will give up enrollment at their current school.
Clark said even though it’s a digital option, they’re working to include some in-person elements.
“Field trips options will be included in the experience, but also help sessions and orientation sessions so students will be able to come in to get extra help, especially if they’re falling behind.”
Clark added the district needs enrollment numbers early for a reason.
“To ensure that we have a full staff, we have to have a number,” she said. “We have to have a number so we can staff it and those teachers are critical so we just couldn’t have an open number.”
Thaxton says parents might feel differently for school when it comes to the vaccine.
“I have a lot of hope that especially when we get the 12 to 15-year-olds approved and they start getting vaccinated as well that we’ll see that number drop and that just makes everybody else safer,” she said.
Clark says if parents have any questions to reach out to her office. Click here to learn about the information that was provided during this week’s school board meeting.