Recently, Winter Storm Helena brought snow to the south, impacting the greater Charlotte area. Monday, January 9, 2017 resulted in a traditional snow day for Lake Norman Charter, as well as the greater Piedmont area in North Carolina. That evening, LNC leaders collectively decided to designate January 10, 2017 as an E-Learning Day.
In 2016, we successfully implemented an E-Learning Day Pilot (See related blog post: E-Learning Day Pilot). LNC used this pilot to gauge if we could utilize this option for future regularly scheduled half-days and/or potential weather-related days.
Yesterday (1/10/17) was the first occasion to execute E-Learning for weather. Students and teachers stayed home and utilized their technology to connect remotely.
There has been a ton of time and energy put forth well-before I joined LNC, yet I'm fortunate enough to be able to be directly involved in the implementation.
I believe there are three primary reasons why E-Learning is successful at Lake Norman Charter:
1. We are a 1:1 iPad school system and our 1:World Program is in year three of implementation (updated 9/16/17: The high school now utilizes Dell Laptops, while the MS is 1:1 with iPads. We are now in the fourth year of our 1:World Program). Our students take these devices home and our teachers regularly embed their instruction with the available technology. It wasn't required for a student to utilize their iPad (i.e. a student could use their home computer). But, due to our student's daily usage, they are comfortable with their devices.
2. Lake Norman Charter utilizes Schoology as a Learning Management System. Schoology is allows all faculty, staff, students, and parents to access pertinent information through a single integrated system on any device with an internet connection.
3. Most importantly, we have buy-in from all stakeholders. Teachers and administrators began collaborating and gathering research in the Spring of 2015. The collaboration and planning continued last year, leading up to the official Pilot on Feb. 11, 2016. Our internal stakeholders had the chance to be directly involved from the planning from the very beginning, as well as an opportunity to collaborate on what worked, what didn't, and Best Practices to implement moving forward.
Our pilot was successful enough that we were able to schedule two E-Learning days into the 2016-2017 Academic Calendar and recently, three have been approved to be included in the 2017-2018 academic calendar (all half-days and follow the same format of 25-minutes classes).
During our September 23rd (2016) E-Learning Day, the LNCHS only had four "full-day" absent students (out of approximately 805). Our attendance was even better for the inclement weather E-Learning day on 1/10/17, with an unofficial "full-day" attendance rate of 99.5%. This is the equivalent of 199 students for every 200.
Our tremendous attendance for E-Learning demonstrates that our students and parents value the instruction and activities that occur during the abbreviated E-Learning day. Today, during our Department Chair meeting, I was able to receive continued positive feedback from our teachers regarding E-Learning as an option for inclement weather.
I am look forward to this innovative partnership with our students and parents.
Thank you for viewing,
Originally posted January 2017; updated September 2017
The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.