Arkansas school district tests fully virtual learning academy



TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) – COVID-19 has caused ArkLaTex schools to make adjustments to provide quality education for students. A primary school in Texarkana, Ark. became one of 11 schools in the state to try something different to advance student learning.

There is no one physically inside Dr Elisabeth Eaton’s 2nd year class, but this class is full of students.

“… we interact and work with them every day we go in small groups we do everything that would happen in a regular classroom and we do it live we just do it on the small screen with zoom …”

After a year of blended instruction, a combination of virtual and in-person instruction, the State of Arkansas has granted the Texarkana Arkansas School District permission to offer total virtual learning to select elementary school students. The neighborhood has now opened the Digital Learning Academy.

“An academy designed for parents and students who don’t feel comfortable being in person in schools at this time,” said Dr Elisabeth Eaton, a teacher.

The academy is located on the North Heights School campus on E 35th Street.

Amber Ridgell tells KSLA that her 7-year-old son “KJ” has a weakened immune system, so they decided to attend the Digital Learning Academy. Ridgell says they attended school virtually in 2020, but that’s different from blended education.

“This year is better because now we can connect with a real teacher who is not in class and has to take breaks to Zoom,” Ridgell said.

“Because it’s hard to teach and watch a class and look at a screen and teach and watch a class. Someone loses … ”said Dr Eaton.

School officials say participating students and parents can benefit from this type of education.

“So having a computer and learning how they do things is completely different from the way we did things,” Ridgell said.

Officials say things are progressing well at the academy thanks to the availability of more resources for teachers and students.

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