APS seeking feedback on new online K-12 school idea

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools is looking at a slate of options for reopening classrooms in August, but another option could allow for an entirely online school experience for all grades. The district made the announcement on its website Thursday, saying it’s looking at “opening a K-12 online school this fall.”

While the district has offered partial online schooling for high schoolers through its “eCADEMY” program in years past, an all-online school for kindergarteners, elementary, and middle school students would be a first for APS. With COVID-19 concerns in mind, the district says they expect some parents will be worried about bringing their kids back to school for in-person learning when the 2020-21 school year is slated to begin in mid-August.

“Families have definitely indicated that there is a desire for some families to keep their children home,” said Dr. Deborah Elder, executive director of APS’ Office of Innovation. “We really need to continue providing education, the full suite of education for students, in partnership with families, who don’t want to send their children to face-to-face school.”

Before launching a possible all-online school, APS says it is looking to get feedback from parents. The district is expected to launch some kind of online input through a form or survey measuring opinions on the all-online school experience soon. Elder says the district wants to hear from parents so that they can gauge how many kids the district should expect to take part, and how many teachers they may need to prepare.

“We know there’s a desire for it,” Elder said. “We just don’t know how big that desire is.”

APS has never done an all-online schooling experience for elementary and middle school kids. The district says its conceptual all-online experience would be far different than the “Continuous Learning Plan” APS enacted at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

“The Continuous Learning Plan was really an emergency response,” Elder said. “(In K-12 Online School) There will be curriculum in the four CORE academic areas as well as some electives and suggestions for physical activity.”

Elder says the online school would likely also rely on parents, especially for younger aged students. APS says its all-online school will ultimately be an option that parents have, but it won’t be a requirement.

“The role of the family in online schooling is very critical, it’s not ‘put your kid in front of the computer for 6.5 hours’ and they’re going to learn, it requires very active family involvement,” Elder said. “We recognize that not every family is able to do that.”

APS is also planning for other options to begin the school year, including traditional in-school learning and a possible combination of in-school and distance learning. Those options are outlined in the district’s “re-entry plan,” posted online. APS says it plans on launching an online survey about interest in the all online school soon.

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