Alisal Union School District will start its own virtual academy in the fall. | News

Alisal Union School District will start its own virtual academy in the fall. | News


During the pandemic, teachers and students moved overnight to online learning out of necessity. But teachers and parents realized that several children were thriving in the virtual school, which prompted school districts to explore it as a long-term alternative to the classroom.

Last year, Salinas City Elementary and North Monterey County Unified School Districts began offering online learning for K-6 and K-12, respectively. The Alisal Union School District will join them in the 2022-23 school year.

For more than a year, Josh Harris, director of educational technology at AUSD, had researched different models of virtual academy.

The Alisal Virtual Academy will offer learning experience; Classes will be interactive and there will be no children just staring at a teacher on the screen. Teachers will have EGlass screens, a sophisticated touch screen that acts as a transparent whiteboard, which will allow students to see the teacher in front of them as they type on the “blackboard”. Harris says it should create an effect to make students feel like they are in the classroom.

In addition to having real-time interaction, students will receive learning kits that could include Legos, paper, craft sticks and more for projects. Students will have monthly meetings to interact with each other in person.

Teachers will work from an AUSD facility instead of working from home. This means that parents will be able to come to campus and talk to them. “One of the frustrations during remote control [learning] if they couldn’t come talk to the teacher, “Harris says.” That’ll fix it. “

More than 100 students have enrolled in the Alisal Virtual Academy so far.

In its first year, Salinas City Virtual Academy was in high demand. “We had 13 classrooms, which far exceeded what we had initially planned,” says principal Erika Tumminelli.



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