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Live Mic: Jordan District to carry on with online learning at three schools

(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — For some students, the pandemic offered an option they would like to continue. So starting in the fall, the Jordan School District will be opening three schools for online learning.

Anthony Godfrey, superintendent of the District, joins Live Mic host Lee Lonsberry to talk about the announcement.

Online learning

Beginning next school year, the district, which comprises 56,000 students, will launch an online elementary, middle and high school.

There will be 12 teachers at the high school, eight at the middle school and seven for the elementary. Each school will also have its own principal.

Godfrey said the district leaders were talking about nontraditional learning before the pandemic struck.

“When the pandemic hit, it accelerated online learning in ways that allowed us to innovate at a faster pace,” he said.

“Who are the [students] that find this circumstance or this way of [online] learning most attractive?” Lee asked.

“Some students have just found that the pacing works much better for them when they have a level of independence,” Godfrey said.

How will it work?

He explained how the online school-learning experience will work in the Jordan District.

“Our new online schools that start in the fall will offer synchronous and asynchronous options. In other words, students will be able to log in, in real time with their teacher, but they can also watch a recording and engage with the teacher and the material on their own schedule, at their own pace,” Godfrey said.

He added online learning may be a better fit for those students who experience anxiety about attending school in person.

Also, online classes may be the right option for high school students who have a conflict due to their in-person class schedule.

“There may be a very specific class that you want to take that conflicts with another class in your schedule,” he said. “Now virtual classes can fill that gap and allow for students to take all of those electives and other courses that they’d like to be involved in.”

Sports and social connections

“How does this model work for students who still want to participate in sports or extracurricular activities?” Lee asked.

“They’re still able to participate because the virtual schools don’t offer those sports or activities. They’re eligible to participate at their home school,” Godfrey said.

“How about the social element? My own experiences — my social experience in high school and in my younger years was — those are the things that I came away with the most indelible memories. . . . Is that considered or where does that factor into these decisions and what’s being offered students?” Lee asked.

“Social-emotional wellness is a really important aspect of what we provide. The social interactions are key to a student’s development,” Godfrey said. “In a traditional in-person, brick-and-mortar school, there are a lot of opportunities for that social interaction. We’re also going to carefully structure those virtual classes so that there is the interaction among students.”

Read this:

Online learning still a challenge for students, districts say it’s getting better

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.