South Bend School board unanimously approves e-learning days

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees unanimously approved a measure in an attempt to prevent having to extend the school year into mid-June.

“It's about time,” board President John Anella said. “Very excited. It's just something that every other district can do, and it's something that's a long time coming. So, we're very happy to see it.”

South Bend schools will be joining the majority of schools in Indiana to have e-learning days. E-learning days will take place during snow days or, in this winter's case, polar vortex days.

“Rather than having to make them up at the end of the year, we would make them up during the school year,” Director of Digital Integration Matt Modlin said. “During those days, giving them a few days to work on their assignments and using that work in alignment with their instruction.”

The school board unanimously passed the proposal for e-learning days during Monday's meeting.

“When my kids are complaining about being in school until June 12, it's just another arrow in our quiver that allows us to not have to extend the school year so much longer,” Anella said.

During an e-learning day, elementary students can expect five hours of lesson time, while secondary students can expect six hours. It will be a contracted work day for teachers.

“There will be training and professional development, and they will get paid,” Anella said. “The world is moving to a more technology-based system anyways, so it's just the natural evolution.”

With Monday's approval, the digital integration team can now launch a survey corporationwide to determine who has access to Wi-Fi and computers at home.

The school corporation has a map of free Wi-Fi locations already on its website and will be working to accommodate students who may not have direct access.

One accommodation could be giving students up to three days to complete assignments.

“We’re looking to be able to provide that support and instruction both inside and outside of the classroom, and we think we can do that with e-learning,” Modlin said.

E-learning days will be in effect starting with the 2019-2020 school year.