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Digital learning program offered at Deer/Mt. Judea
Digital learning program offered at Deer/Mt. Judea
By: Jeff Dezort, editor jeffd@newtoncountytimes.com
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Digital Learning Program

The Deer/Mt. Judea School District is continuing to develop its digital learning program for non-traditional and home schooled students.

Lindsey Graham, digital learning administrator, hired last February, received a new certified teachers' contract by the board of education at its July meeting extending the number of days she will work from 190 days to 210 days for the 2018-19 school year. The school board also approved adding to the program Stephanie Overman, of Jasper, who will serve as the Digital Learning Program secretary. The classified contract is for 178 days.

The digital learning program was introduced as a way for the small, rural, consolidated school district to build enrollment. Superintendent Andrew Curry said in a report to the public last March that he turned to families who were home schooling and asked what the school district could do to help educate their children.

If the students could enroll in a course offered by the school district it could count them in the daily average membership. Graham, of Jasper, who works with a home school group in Jasper, was hired by the district to work with those families and together they developed the digital learning program. The program introduced 52 new students to the school district.

Under the program, each student receives a Chromebook, materials and supplies and help with their Internet cost. The Chromebooks are preloaded with curriculum. Curry emphasized that the program is designed for students who have a stable adult guiding their learning. All students in the program must be accountable by agreeing to take the ACT Aspire state test.

In addition, the students can participate in all academic and extra-curricular programs of the school district. They have equal access to all professional development hosted by the district. The district also offers specific professional development for parents as needed.

The students have access to the district's Dyslexia interventionist and diagnostic testing as needed.

Also as enrolled students they are invited to participate in ACT prep classes and have access to Virtual Arkansas for Advance Placement courses.

Another incentive for joining the program, the school district will pay for two courses per semester for juniors and seniors to attend North Arkansas College, Arkansas Tech or other approved online courses.

In addition, the students are provided quarterly educational field trips.

As the superintendent advised, parents of students in the program have responsibilities to meet  at being the  lead educator for their students.

These include:

• Provide necessary forms for enrollment.

• Report mid-term and nine week grades to director.

• Attendance for the ACT Aspire or I-station Testing.

• Grades K-2nd I-station Testing (September, January, April)

• Grades 3rd-10th ACT Aspire (April)

• 11th Grade- ACT Test (March)

Parents interested in enrolling their students in the program can contact Graham at 870-688-3561.