May 20, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

‘It could allow us to avoid having our school year extended past Memorial Day’

St. Joseph-Ogden Superintendent Brian Brooks said that having an E-learning day yesterday and today made sense for the district.

“We went into this winter wanting to see how effective an E-Learning Day might be for us if we were to have a day where it made sense,” Brook said.

Brooks said that because of the size of this storm and having advance notice that they would most likely not be able to come to school for at least a day or two, it made a lot of sense for the district to give this a shot and see if it can be effective at SJO. 

“If E-Learning does become effective for us to use, it gives us another option on days in which we can’t have in-person learning,” Brooks said. “The primary advantage to this is that it could allow us to avoid having our school year extended past Memorial Day and/or into June.”

Principal Gary Page said the last two years of having to adapt how the district does things from a teaching and learning perspective has opened the door to E-Learning being an option.

“Our students and teachers are very familiar with the process of remote learning so it really is a matter of communicating what the expectations will be for an E-learning day and ensuring everyone has access to technology needs,” he said.   “I’m anxious to see how this goes.  It is a great tool for schools to use to keep learning moving forward during the school calendar without having to make up days on the back end of the school year. “

Brooks said in previous years that have extended into early June, the days ended up not being productive academically.

“Students were ready to be out and get their summer started, and many have summer jobs that they are anxious to get to. In addition, it cut down on time in which families could take a vacation,” Brooks said.

 Brooks said one of the things the district will evaluate is whether or not these E-Learning Days in February are more productive, or at least as productive, as in-person learning days may be in early June. The district is also evaluating whether it is even feasible to do an E-Learning Day on a day where they don’t make a decision on whether or not to have school until early in the morning. 

“These next two days should give us a little insight into that as well,” he said.

Brooks said the district is not looking to eliminate snow days altogether.

“There is something to be said for a kid having a “snow day” in East Central Illinois in the middle of a dreary winter,” he said. “And making one day up in May isn’t a huge deal most years. It is typically when you get into having to use multiple snow days that puts us into days after Memorial Day. That is what we are trying to avoid in this situation.  Winter is far from over here, so doing a couple E-Learning Days now provides us some more flexibility if we have another winter storm come through before we get to spring.”
 
 

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