By Shelby Stewart
The Brandon Learn from Home program will not be available next year. Students who wish to continue with online instruction would have to participate in the Summit Virtual program through the district.
“Because we had the majority returning to in-person instruction, the numbers for Brandon Learn from Home went down,” said Megan Koslowski, Brandon Learn from Home principal and high school vice principal.
The model for BLFH changed this year due to the decrease in students enrolled in the program. While elementary students still participate in a scheduled school day with Brandon teachers, the secondary education students in the middle and high school take classes through Edmentum and have Brandon teachers as mentors.
“Students need to take a lot more active ownership of their learning this year, which is a challenge for some students,” said Koslowski. “It’s hard when you don’t have a teacher live and in-person encouraging you every day.”
Because of the challenge, the course completion rate for 4-12 th grades is around 50 percent for virtual students, compared a six percent non-completion rate for in-person students.
“It is better than a lot of other virtual programs, but it just is more proof that in-person is where our students need to be,” said Koslowski.
This data has been seen over and over again in various districts according to the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Carly Stone.
“Needless to say this data supports the statement that an average student enrolled in in-person instruction at the Brandon School District has a greater proficiency percentile and demonstrates growth at a greater rate than an average student that is enrolled in our Brandon Learn from Home program,” said Stone.
The students currently in the learn from home program will continue to have teacher mentors, but will be working in small groups with them instead of with a larger group of students to try and combat the course non-completion rate and lower attendance numbers.
Any students that wish to remain virtual still have the option of Summit Virtual Academy, which would require that the student had demonstrated success in an online program and a letter of recommendation from a teacher. Students would also need to stay virtual for a full year, as there would be no change in the middle of the school year like with the BLFH program. The exception would be if the student is failing courses, which would require them to go back to school in person.
Enrollment for Summit Virtual begins on March 1, and would go through spring break 2022 for next school year.