West Ada expands virtual school house program

Posted at 4:12 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 18:12:25-04

MERIDIAN — Ahead of Thursday's press conference on reopening public schools, school districts are working on the complexities of their reopening plans.

West Ada has expanded one option— their virtual school house program, which allows students in the district to enroll for an entirely virtual semester.

The program isn't new, but this year the district expands the course offerings and adds curriculum for elementary students.

"We have 944 people who've expressed interest in attending school that way next year," said chief communications officer Eric Exline.

The program will be staffed by current West Ada teachers and will offer all the required courses for high schoolers to graduate.
Though it won't provide all of the classes, you'd find in a larger public school.

"A lot of those electives are very hands-on like welding, that just can't be done virtually," said Exline.

The virtual school house's daily schedule will be the same as what West Ada is currently doing with summer school, though slightly expanded since students at the secondary level have six classes a day.

"In the morning teachers have office hours where kids can log on through teams, get individual help from their teacher, then at 9 a.m. they have an hour of classroom instruction on the subject, then they have an hour where kids can work online on whatever the assignments are," said Exline,

"they meet again at 11, have another hour of online instruction, and then after that, the teacher also has office hours."

For the families that choose to attend in person, Exline says there will be added cleanings, changes to cafeteria procedures, and how kids travel down the hallways.

The district will also do assessments in reading and math, in particular, to find out what the learning gap is from last spring.

"What will determine how much time it's going to take to get them caught up, but we need to find out where they're at first," said Exline.

The virtual school house means even more changes for kids currently enrolled at schools of choice. Jessica Taylor will have more details on this topic on Wednesday.