RATHDRUM, Idaho – 65% of families of children in school say they must have learned online in the past year. While most schools have since opened and welcomed students back into the classroom, some have learned better online and want to continue in the future.
“They are both thriving. They both understand everything that fits their grade level so that makes me happy, ”said Sabrina Pearson, a mother whose children have continued to learn online throughout the year. “We are proud of them.”
Pearson’s children attend Lakeland Online Academy and she enjoyed playing a vital role in their education.
“It has been great to see them blossom in this new and exciting way because I can really be home with them, see what they are doing,” she said. “I am more in tune with what they do at home.”
Patty Morrison is the director of the online academy and has used the past year to communicate and understand what families are looking for in their children’s education. They conducted monthly surveys and learned that many students do better in this environment.
“Some of the kids felt they got closer to their teachers because each teacher offered one-on-one time,” Morrison said.
Now, the Lakeland School District is meeting these students where they are and is launching a new hybrid learning model called REACH Academy. As part of the program, students will learn online from teachers at Lakeland, then come together for in-person activities, experiences, and field trips to foster social interaction and community development. Morrison says that interactions with other children were the one thing families who loved to learn online were missing.
“Some of their appearance being at home, they were missing that social interaction,” Pearson said. “Having school once a week makes us happy. My children are very excited. “
To serve more students, Lakeland is expanding academy enrollment to students outside the district. They also organize an open house Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. for families who want to know more. You can find more information about REACH and register to register your place at the academy here.
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