Rowan-Salisbury Schools unveils eLearning program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2019

SALISBURY — Rowan County students will have a new option to make up school days missed because of bad weather thanks to a new program approved Monday by the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.

Called eLearning Make-Up Days, the program provides students an opportunity to complete coursework from home when schools are closed, eliminating the need to schedule makeup days at their respective schools.

Students will test the program on Tuesday to make up for one of three school days missed in December because of snow and ice. Two of those missed days were waived and will require no makeup.

School staff will send a letter home with information about Tuesday’s assignments, and teachers will discuss eLearning expectations with their students.

Tuesday’s eLearning Day does not apply to Rowan County Early College students.

According to information presented by Julie Morrow, assistant superintendent for curriculum, teachers will prepare learners for eLearning days in future instances of bad weather by providing assignments before the event. The work can then be completed through digital or traditional means, and students will have five days after their return to school to complete all assignments.

Teachers will have set “office hours” during their times out of the classroom, when students can contact them for support through email or the schools’ learning management systems.

During Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Chairman Josh Wagner said he is concerned about the five-day window for completing assignments. He asked that the board be provided an end-of-year recap of how much work is being completed by students and how responsive teachers are during their office hours for the purpose of accountability.

He also wanted to see data on when assignments were completed to know if students are waiting to the last minute to complete assignments and creating an influx of work to be graded by teachers.

Board Vice Chairwoman Susan Cox expressed concern that assignments could get lost in the shuffle if each missed day meant an additional five days for completion, but Morrow said the five days would remain the same regardless of the amount of time students spent out of the classroom.

Board member Kevin Jones worried that the program might place an unfair expectation on teachers. What if they are without power or didn’t have access to a computer?

Morrow said teachers would be working with partners to keep in contact with students. In case they were unavailable during the bad weather, that would be communicated and the teacher would be available for assistance once students return to campus.