By: Moian Broadus
Are you ready for more online learning guys? If you are, go to the Hcpss website and check out the Digital Learning Center, where students who sign up will be learning virtually, replacing their high school with a computer screen that still allows them to gain their diploma. Digital Education Center can help with a lot of things and areas such as people staying online due to Covid protection, credit recovery for night classes, or students sick and on bed rest. Before all of these things were accommodated but done so separately.
You can start gathering information for this program on the hcpss website where you’ll find a list that is very resourceful https://www.hcpss.org/schools/dec/. This list answers many questions parents, teachers and students would have concerning this program. There could be some issues in certain areas of the program that are concerning the parents of students thinking to be enrolled into this virtual learning environment. With the school year coming to an end the enrollment for the program is also right around the corner. There isn’t a set number of people who are interested in this program, but after speaking with Mr. Cohen, his concerns were that there isn’t enough fully permanent information on this program. “Out of Athoton there will most likely only be 1% of the schools population switching to digital learning,” he said.
Students thinking of becoming a part of the program will have to be locked in with this setting. There is no switching from virtual to in person. One must be fully committed to the virtual learning. While students aren’t allowed to physically be in the building face to face for their learning experience they still are connected with their home school. So say a student goes to River Hill; they will do class fully online not linked with River Hill students, but if they chose to play sports such as basketball they will try out for the River Hill team if that is their home school. But with this being said, what if a student has Biology class at 4:30 but that’s the time they have their sport or extra curricular activity? Now that is interfering with their learning and out of school fun. This sort of scheduling mishap is a possibility due to the fact that there are no set times for classes yet.
Christopher Shaw of Oakland Mills High School asked: “How do we know that this won’t mess up our sports?” This is a question many may have due to the fact that this program may be coming out of HCPSS budget. Will the budget for the program cut into the schools funding to athletics, music/theater departments? If so, how well and what areas is it going to have to be cut down on? Students want to know how much of an impact this program will have on existing budgets.
Another rising question is what will the amount of teachers look like and how will teachers be hired? The county sent out a option for teachers to sign up to be part of the Digital Ed. program, but no information is out on what kind of response the county got.
There’s still so many pros and cons for this new way of learning. Only time is able to tell how it will turn out. This is a full school, just online with the same classes. There will be different teachers. Hopefully this program helps those who need it and gives them the same chances as in school students.