Spring Lake Park Schools recently announced plans to expand the district’s online school to all students in grades K-12 for the 2021-2022 school year.
For 13 years, Spring Lake Park High School students have had the option to learn full-time online. A year of learning through the pandemic has created a renewed interest in the next phase of the district’s approach to online learning — expanding it to all K-12 students.
“We have experience now at all grade levels to create a really exceptional learning experience online for families who choose it,” Hope Rahn, the district’s director of learning and innovation, said in a statement. “With families asking about online options for next fall, this is the right time to expand.”
In the district’s online school, students cover the same concepts as their in-school peers but tailored to an online environment. The district says its focus on personalized learning translates to the online environment with learning specific to a student’s strengths, interests and needs.
“All of the learning in our online school is facilitated by Spring Lake Park Schools teachers — learning advocates — who have extensive experience teaching online and are aligned to our district vision and commitment to personalizing learning with students,” Rahn said.
The K-8 online school experience is customized to small groups of learners and includes opportunities for content area learning and interdisciplinary, project-based experiences. A blend of “live” learning and independent work is tailored to each small group of learners. Learning advocates meet regularly with students and families to design learning, facilitate individual and small group work, assess progress and determine next steps.
The high school experience provides more choice in the time, place, path and pace of learning. Teachers facilitate learning primarily through asynchronous, “on-demand” learning experiences with some virtual “live” sessions and small group learning experiences. A learning advocate checks in regularly with students and families on progress and to provide direct support.
Each student at Spring Lake Park Schools is issued an iPad. Online learners also continue to have access to support services, including social workers, school psychologists, English as a second language and special education teachers.
The online school is open to any student who lives in Minnesota at no additional cost.
The district will host information sessions in May. Families are asked to complete an interest form to receive updates and invitations. Student and family interest will guide next steps.