Illinois Schools Opt for Virtual Summer Learning Programs

Image result for Illinois Schools Opt for Virtual Summer Learning ProgramsWESTMONT, Ill. (AP) — Some Illinois school districts are revamping their summer school programs this year with virtual programs designed to allow students to complete lessons outside of the classroom.

But education experts are worried that online learning programs aren’t the best approach for younger students, the Chicago Tribune reported (http://trib.in/2oX6GV1 ). They are questioning whether the move is due to the school districts’ desire to cut costs and redirect money at a time when the state is $13 billion behind in allocating school funds due to the budget impasse.

“They’re thinking it’s cost-effective, but it may not be learning-effective,” said Rena Shifflet, an associate professor at Illinois State University’s School of Teaching and Learning. “Illinois has kind of backed school districts into a corner. They’re doing the most with what they have.”

The Maercker School District opted for the program due to fewer students enrolling in its summer programs because of transportation issues and kids’ busy summer schedules.

“We felt that this was a better way to engage more students,” said Cathy Fisher, director of teaching and learning for Maercker School District 60 in Westmont

In June, the school district will host the summer “book club” for elementary students who need extra help. The program will require students to attend classes only three times and allow them to complete readings and online literary exercises from home. It will be open to students in first through eighth grade. Middle school students will be able to gain credits for not passing classes in core content areas through mostly online work.

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