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 Roseville Community Schools will be implementing online learning options for its fall 2020 semester to accommodate families that are not comfortable sending their kids back to school.

Roseville Community Schools will be implementing online learning options for its fall 2020 semester to accommodate families that are not comfortable sending their kids back to school.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Roseville Community Schools offering online options in fall

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 2, 2020

 The quarantine has led school districts, including Roseville Community Schools, to offer online educational options.

The quarantine has led school districts, including Roseville Community Schools, to offer online educational options.

Photo provided by Joe Genest


ROSEVILLE — Roseville Community Schools will be offering an online alternative for families who are uncomfortable with sending their children back into the district’s buildings due to COVID-19 health concerns.

Dave Rice, the Roseville Community Schools assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the district is weighing different possibilities regarding this plan, which would be available for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, but he wants to assure parents that if they want their children to continue their education from home during the upcoming fall semester, that option will be available.

“We’re meeting as a task force and are paying attention to what the state says school districts have to do come the fall,” he said. “We are making different plans, each based on different possibilities to what things will look like by the fall. Families would register with us the way they would normally, and they would indicate that they would want to use this online option.”

Roseville Superintendent Mark Blaszkowski said the ever changing and uncertain landscape in education caused by COVID-19 is inspiring districts to look at new options.

“The main reason we wanted to do this was because we are going into some unknown territory. This means we need options. You have different levels of comfort about how safe parents feel about sending their kids back,” Blaszkowski said. “We feel being in school is the best way to learn, but we understand families need those options for how their kids learn right now.”

The impetus for this move was concern voiced by parents within the district.

“We heard from parents who said they were interested in this,” Rice said. “We want to make sure they are still part of the school district and have opportunities so they can stay here. This program will be in place and be done correctly so we can ensure (students) are still getting an excellent education.”

Some in the district were concerned that if these options were not offered, it could mean losing students to other districts. Rice said he thinks many more families are comfortable with online learning after having to experience it as a necessity during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“I think the benefits would be giving our parents the option to remain part of Roseville Community Schools even if they aren’t comfortable sending their students back to a normal school environment,” he said. “The disadvantages are pretty obvious. No one is convinced in education that unless a student is highly motivated and their parents are equally motivated, that kids can put in the work they need to put in if they are learning from home. We put teachers in communication with them, offer tutoring, we put resources online, but if the drive to learn isn’t there, it won’t be effective. We know parents didn’t learn this way either, so it would be challenging for them to help their kids if they are unfamiliar with this type of learning.”

Rice also said that the experience of teaching students remotely has taught the districts what to do as well as what not to do in such situations.

“The last few weeks (of the school year) we were in emergency mode,” he explained. “A lot of districts were scrambling. We had (previously) distributed 1-to-1 devices to all of our students, so we were in good shape and we asked our teachers to single out what the most important part of what they still needed to teach this year was to apply that to online lessons using the Schoology program. Some of the technology didn’t work or didn’t work the way we wanted it to. We learned how to be better prepared for that if we are to continue online learning.”

While details about how the remote learning program in the fall will function are still unknown, the program will focus around the education tool Edgenuity.

“We want to learn to use Edgenuity, which was previously something we used for students who needed to make up credits,” said Rice. “We want to turn it into a way for any student to earn credits the way any other student would.”

Blaszkowski hopes the district will be able to fund the majority of the costs for the extra program with grant money and other out-of-district funds.

“There is some additional grant money to help handle the extra costs of offering these additional options,” he said. “Our general budget has been stretched for years, but we were hoping (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) money from the federal government will help us handle covering those expenditures.”

Rice said he knows this is unfamiliar territory for many people, including many educators, but believes it is something that has to be done for the good of the district and its students.

“I don’t want to sound too casual about it; it’s a huge undertaking,” he remarked. “It’s something we’ve been working on for weeks. We want to do what’s right for the community, but we are continuing to work on it and make sure that we have it right by the fall no matter what the situation looks like.”

Blaszkowski is optimistic about the program and is curious to see how the current climate regarding online learning will shape the future of education.

“Our district has always met the needs of all of our students,” he said. “This is how we want to proceed so they have the tools to continue their education and continue it in this district.”