Roseburg Public Schools is set to launch its own online option, RPS Virtual School, at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
“We have done our homework, we have the latest and most up-to-date teaching materials and teaching practices and platforms,” said Michelle Knee, Assistant Superintendent of RPS and Director of Teaching and Learning . “We have done tons of research and contacts and are confident in our plan. “
Elementary school lessons will be facilitated by teachers from the Roseburg School District using the Florida Virtual School platform. At the secondary level, the district will initially use the Apex Learning program and teachers. He plans to transition to District Educators in the 2022-2023 school year.
The learning platforms have been recommended by other schools that have already implemented online programs and tested by Roseburg administrators.
As of Thursday, Knee estimated that about 15% of students in the district were enrolled in the distance learning options the school district currently offers.
The RPS Virtual School will be part of the school district and its students will be able to participate in sports, clubs and other activities that the district has to offer.
Rob Peterson, a grade 11 student, has been attending a virtual school since the start of his high school career.
“It’s better than a public school, I’ll tell you that,” Peterson said. “I really don’t have to deal with a million people running around. “
Peterson has high-level autism and chose to go to a virtual school because he was not doing well in a traditional classroom. He was part of a study group across the district, but that was canceled due to COVID-19.
Peterson attended Connections Academy through Roseburg Public Schools and will likely switch to the new virtual option next year. Connections Academy will no longer be an option, but Knee said the new virtual option will be similar.
“It’s similar but more engaging and easier to navigate,” Knee said. “And yes, everything will be transferred because our Connections students are still Roseburg Public School students.”
The new RPS Virtual School will offer asynchronous learning options allowing students the freedom to study on their own schedule.
Peterson and his grandmother and primary caregiver, Susan Bryan, like to get up later in the morning, but still start school about an hour after waking up in the morning.
“I can’t believe we’ve been up at 6 am for all these years,” Bryan said.
Peterson said math is his favorite class, but he struggles with language arts because it’s not as interactive as a class.
“The downfall with a lot of these online school systems is that most of the time there’s no one on the other end,” Peterson said.
To be able to help him with his difficulties in class, his teachers are available to help him when he makes an appointment with them.
Roseburg Public Schools will also integrate this option into their online platform. And with the teachers in the district, there will be an option for tutoring and meeting in person, if necessary.
The school district will launch the virtual school and begin collecting data on its effectiveness to ensure it is the right investment for the district and the community.
Primary school teachers will work from the Rose School building, which will be vacant as the alternative school is merged with the secondary school.
There will be a teacher for each grade level in the primary school, who will be supervised by the Teaching and Learning Coordinator Dani Jardine. Jardine will also supervise the virtual college students.
The district is still working on the details for high school students in grades 6-12, but Knee said the plan was to have several teachers in the district by 2022-2023 dedicated 25% to the virtual school and 75% in traditional school. An assistant principal of the high school will oversee the virtual school for students in grades 9 to 12.