This year, over 20 families are taking classes through Prairie Land Online School.
“The Prairie Land Online School was set up in recognition of the pandemic and to give parents the choice of making an educational decision that will best fit their needs,” explains Superintendent Cam McKeage.
The division hired five teachers dedicated to teaching students online in Grades 1 to 9.
“I think Prairie Land did a great job listening to families’ con-cerns during this unprecedented time,” said Devon Slemp, an online teacher with Prairie Land.
“Online is a great way to continue students’ learning when they have to stay at home for reasons related to COVID-19.”
Slemp, who is new to the division, teaches Math 7, Science 8 and Science 9.
Like the other online teachers, Slemp has set times and days of the week when she meets with her classes.
She meets with her students via Google Meet and students also have the opportunity to do some of the work on their own at their own pace.
While they might not be sitting in the same classroom togeth-er, the online teachers have worked hard to get to know their students.
“It was pretty quiet the first couple of days with all the nerves,” said Thea Young, who teaches junior high ELA and Social.
“But students are getting settled in and are more comfortable talking with one another.” Young says lots of students log on the meets a bit early so it is a great time to chat and get to know each other.
Mikaela Johnson, who teaches Grades 1, 2 and 6, agrees that her students are becoming more comfortable with the online environment.
“They have become quite talkative and excited over the past couple of weeks,” laughs Johnson.
“I have been able to get to know my students and develop relationships with them just as I would in the classroom talking with them and connecting with their interests.”
One of the things Prairie Land has taken into consideration is the order in which the curriculum is being taught.
By developing a scope and sequence for each course, set objectives are being taught during a specific time frame for both online and in-person classes.
“Prairie Land staff have created a course scope and sequence that all teachers are following so students will have a smooth transition back to their home schools if they wish to do so,” explains Slemp.
Most of the teachers are using Google Meet for their regular classes, a platform utilized last spring when Prairie Land moved to online classes. For some younger students, this is all quite new to them.
“We have some pretty small children running brand new applications and programs by themselves, not to mention learning and handing in digital assignments,” explains Lauren Baier.