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Virtual learning for 13% of GIPS students

About 13% of GIPS students will stay home to learn during the first semester.
About 13% of GIPS students will stay home to learn during the first semester.(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 5:59 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Public Schools announced Wednesday that 1,346 students signed up for Virtual School. This means those students will be learning full-time from home, not in the classroom.

“We heard from parents requesting consistency in expectations from teachers,” said Dr. Toni Palmer, GIPS Chief of Leading for Learning. “A set schedule will be provided for each student. Attendance expectations will be set and made clear to each student by each teacher.”

Students in Virtual School will receive normal grades and report cards.

“Teachers will be assigning work and providing feedback to support growth in learning,” Palmer said. “Student work will be graded in Virtual School as it is on campus to symbolize progress towards grade level standards.”

The 1,346 students signed up span all grades and all schools.

The number represents 651 elementary students, 366 middle school students and 329 high school students. The main reasons given for selecting Virtual School were safety, medical concerns and mask usage.

The next big step for GIPS is working with staff to determine who will teach each class and what it will mean for the students and staff on campus.

“Virtual School students at the elementary level will have a teacher for every class,” Dr. Palmer said. “However, it may not be from their home school.”

The district gave this example for how it would work: If there are 125 fifth grade students signed up for Virtual School, this will require five teachers from across the 14 elementary schools. GIPS will group students closely with other students from their home school, even if they are placed with a teacher from a different school.

Virtual School will consist of a GIPS teacher-led Zoom throughout the day for elementary students. Middle and high school will use a combination of this as well as distance learning with a student joining remotely to a live on-campus classroom. High school students may also have classes via Edmentum, an online resource Senior High has used for many years.

The Virtual School will also have an administrator and other GIPS staff to assist and support the needs of students. More information will be shared with parents as it is available.

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