• Burlington School District welcomes new virtual learning options
    ONLINE COURSES

    Burlington School District welcomes new virtual learning options

    Burlington School District welcomes new virtual learning options

    As the first week of the Burlington School District’s V.I.B.E. virtual learning academy comes to an end, administrators are hoping the lessons they’ve learned while teaching online since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic will not only offer a better program this school year, but also help them innovate as they look to the future.  

    “We were thrust into (having to do online learning) last year,” said Burlington Superintendent Pat Coen. “I think we had three or four of days to prepare. And we learned a lot, and (the district’s online program) is going to much better than it was.”  

    Operating at the former James Madison Elementary building, the V.I.B.E. program now functions as the district’s virtual learning option.  

    Before this school year, the district’s online courses fell to teachers who would have to juggle virtual instruction with in-person learning. 

    More:Black Leadership Council, Community Health Centers of SE Iowa to host back-to-school event Saturday

    Now, the district’s virtual learning will be taught by instructors who teach online exclusively and will each have their own classroom to work out of at James Madison.   

    Beth Shurtleff, the principal for the Burlington School District's Virtual Innovative Blended Exploration program, stands next to a dream wall in the collaboration room Aug. 12 at James Madison Education Center. V.I.B.E. focuses on bringing a personalized, online learning experience to students, while also offering optional in-person enrichment lessons and activities.

    “One of our strengths is that our teachers are going to be 100% dedicated virtual teachers,” said Beth Shurtleff, the V.I.B.E. program’s first principal, who is also working on her doctorate in educational psychology and technology. 

    “So they’re going to be able to focus on that and best practices and what’s working really well for the students.”   

    The program allows kindergarten-12 students the chance to take 100% of their classes virtually, but also allows opportunities for individualized and blended learning plans, including:   

  • 5 reasons to set up a coding program in your district
    Coding and Robotics

    5 reasons to set up a coding program in your district

    At Everett Public Schools, we’ve always had a robotics team at the elementary and secondary levels. Last year we were up to 50 robotics teams within the FIRST organization. During the shutdown, we went into a panic over how students wouldn’t be able to physically “touch” and work on the robots on campus anymore.

    I didn’t want to lose our robotics stipend, nor did we want students to miss out on that learning during the shutdown. For help, we started searching for an online platform that would augment our in-person robotics curriculum.

    We found what we were looking for in CoderZ and soon after, we shifted our entire robotics curriculum over to that platform. We weren’t sure how many students would want to log in from home voluntarily, but our participation levels have actually grown since the pandemic shut down in-person learning in March 2020.

    Here are five reasons why we put energy and effort into creating and growing our coding programs:

    1. Students need programming skills for today and for the future. We believe that all students need to have some programming experience in their life as the world is moving towards more automation. Simply having basic coding fundamentals is going to become more important to these youngsters, and we know that.   

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