Cyber school presentation given publicly at JMCSS work session
JACKSON, Tenn. — With school starting soon in Jackson-Madison County, parents may have a lot of questions about the process, especially the online options.
“The cyber school is new to West Tennessee and Jackson, and of course there are many questions that our families and our community want answers to,” cyber school principal Dr. Teresa McSweeney said.
This new option of education during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a mystery for students and families ever since it became an option.
At the Jackson-Madison County school board’s monthly work session Monday evening, McSweeney gave a public presentation for the first time on this new option of learning.
So far, enrollment is in the thousands.
“It’s certainly more than anyone expected when we offered the option, but our community has spoken, our parents are spoken, they want options and opportunities and they’re excited about learning in a different way,” McSweeney said.
There are two different platforms.
Edmentum is for middle and high school students.
“It is a student driven, student paced curriculum. It is a curriculum that is used nationally in settings around the country,” McSweeney explained.
And Blackboard for elementary students.
“The nice thing about Blackboard is that all of the content lives in a dashboard that’s very convenient for students and parents,” McSweeney explained.
Cyber students will have something extra through their online learning: a live teacher from the school system.
“That teacher will offer daily live support to students, so it’s a little bit different from a curriculum that you might purchase because it’s not just delivery of curriculum, but also teacher support,” McSweeney said.
Dr. McSweeney also addressed office hours for teacher contact, feedback for students, and additional services through cyber school, like special education.
“In a special education setting, you want to ensure that you’re making the same modifications and accommodations that you’d make in a general ed classroom. Most of those are going to apply in a cyber classroom as well,” McSweeney said.
She also said some of the challenges of cyber school are that it’s student led, and may require more parent supervision and support.