COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
On Monday, the Columbia Board of Education met to approve a template to a new virtual learning option, as well as renew hotspots.
During the 2021-22 school year, Columbia Public Schools will offer CPS Virtual Elementary powered by Edgenuity for students in grades K-5.
The district will consider offering the template to other school districts should they wish to use the CPS virtual programming being offered through Edgenuity.
Michelle Baumstark, spokeswoman for the district, said, "Some neighboring districts have asked if it might possible for their students to use our programs. Sure they can, but there has to be an agreement and the sending district has to pay the tuition."
While students enrolled in the program will be considered Columbia Public Schools students, they will not be assigned to a specific elementary school and the courses will be taught by Edgenuity instructors rather than CPS teachers.
Some parents are concerned over the new program. "Kids like their teachers. They've been in the same school for all of their elementary years and then all of the sudden they aren't going to have the teachers that they know," parent Scott Halterman said.
Halterman is also concerned over the qualification of the Edgenuity teachers. Halterman asked, "Are they real teachers or are they just people that are not willing to educate the kids but just babysit them for a day?"
Baumstark said the Edgenuity instructors are highly-qualified, state-certified instructors and the course curriculum consists of more than 30 course options for students.
Students will work at their own pace, but will receive a weekly calendar of assignments and have live office hours available to them. If a student requires additional educational support, extra time may be scheduled with the instructor.
The program will have options available for all students, including those who use or need special education or EL services.
Families will need to make their enrollment choice for the entire school year during the back-to-school registration process.
The administration is also requesting approval for the renewal of the contract with T-Mobile USA, which provides Home Internet Access for qualifying students and staff.
The administration is looking to renew 2,873 hotspots and as well as a new agreement for 4,200 service lines for the new middle school devices.
The administration expects the renewal to cost $1,287,569, which will be covered by the Federal Stimulus Funds.
The term of the agreement is July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.