As the Montgomery County, Maryland, Board of Education prepares to meet Thursday, parents and community advocates have questions about the plan for a permanent virtual learning academy.
The school system’s website includes basic information about the plan for full-time virtual learning starting in the fall, including a link on how to enroll. Applications are being accepted via email and in person, and the deadline for applications is July 2.
“The Virtual Academy will be a centrally managed program and will partner with students’ home schools to provide the academic and social emotional support students need to thrive in virtual instruction,” the school system’s website says.
People who submitted written questions for the board are looking for more details on the curriculum, and on how it will all work.
Ansalan Stewart, a parent, wrote, “The dearth of publicly available information about the academy prevents parents and students from making an informed decision about applying to the program.”
She asked whether the programming would be focused on addressing “learning loss” or whether the curriculum would be designed to help students “continue to advance instead of reviewing material from the previous year.” She also asked for “live, interactive information sessions” for parents to ask questions and get direct answers from school staff.
Diego Uriburu, executive director of Identity, a group that advocates for Latino youth, said it appeared to him that most of the students opting for virtual learning were Black and Brown, and asked, “What supports are we going to provide them and their families so they can be successful?”
Constructing the virtual academy would provide a number of challenges, he wrote. “This process will be hard, and we need your unwavering support.”
Parents can get info through webinars on the system’s website.
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