The Humboldt County School District will roll out its K-6 Distance Education program beginning this school year. The district already has a distance education program for grades 7 to 12. The program is one of the many improvements the district is working on implementing as part of its personalized learning initiative.
“We've already begun the recruitment process for our k-6 program that is an open enrollment,” Humboldt County School District Superintendent Dr. Dave Jensen said in a recent interview. “We've got about 12 to 14 confirmed K-6 grade students that are going to transition” into the program.
The recruitment process targets individuals who are currently enrolled in an online charter school or are homeschooled and whose parents are looking for different options with some physical supports. Jensen said the Distance Education program becomes a “blended learning environment” where a student can work through the curriculum at home but if he or she get stuck on a concept, there's somebody to support them. The student can come to the Distance Education center to get tutoring and the support to understand the concept.
Jensen says there are benefits to an online program. “It's an extension of the school district, which means that a (student) will walk out with a Lowry High School diploma and that Lowry High School diploma is (through) an accredited K-12 system which is beneficial for college or a career opportunity.”
Jensen said he expects the program to evolve as the district looks to increase personalized learning options throughout the district as well as address the need for new ways to deliver learning. “I expect that program to grow and continue to blossom,” he said. “We're starting to think in three to five years it becomes the potential to become its own school, whereas the students in the program now are still tied to their school.”
K-6 students will get their instruction and support in the center at the district administration building while 7-12 will continue at the alt-ed options building which is located next to the juvenile detention facility.
“We're excited about this,” Jensen said. “I think it starts to meet a need in our community that hasn't been there before.”