The Fort Smith School District has changed how its high school students can partake in learning

Fort Smith, AR – According to the statement, the Fort Smith School District has announced that these students would be able to choose between two options for instruction during the spring semester: virtual or on-site. Another option that the district offers, blended learning, would only be available for students currently participating in it who qualify.

The blended-learning model of on-site instruction:

  • allowed students to listen to lectures
  • complete assignments at home
  • attend on-site classes when they believed they needed help with the material

This model also provided high school students the flexibility to attend one, several or all classes during the school day. But, it has demonstrated very limited success, and warrants a change to ensure future success and progress toward graduation for all students.

According to the Fort Smith School District, the blended learning is an innovative idea that works for some students as long as those students maintain adequate pacing. Midway through the semester, campus leadership and staff, began noticing a significant number of students at risk for failing one or more courses required for graduation, according to the district. The school district began the #OnTrack initiative to help high school students struggling academically during the pandemic.

The Fort Smith School District set forth the following qualifications blended-learning students needed to meet to continue participating in it:

• Students must have had no grade lower than 80% at the end of the current fall semester.

• Students may have been provisionally approved for blended learning based on grades prior to the end of the semester, but removed if their final grades include one less than 80%.

• The grades of a student approved for blended learning will be reviewed at each 4½-week period. Any students who do not maintain grades of or above 70% in any class will become a full face-to-face student without the option to return to the blended model.

• Blended-learning students who engage with the curriculum from home will be marked as virtually present. Students who do not engage with the curriculum will be marked as unexcused.

Registration for the spring 2021 semester was open from Dec. 1-15, according to the school district. The fall semester ended on Friday, with the spring semester slated to start on Jan. 4.

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