Dearborn Public Schools has yet to finalize how school will begin for our more than 20,000 students this month, but district parents who know they do not want their children to return to a school building for the 2020-21 year are being offered the chance to enroll in a new online-only program.
In an effort to meet the needs of our students who live within the Dearborn Public School boundaries and who want a virtual learning option, the district will offer a 100 percent online learning alternative for kindergarten through 12th grade students for the entire school year. Students who select in the Dearborn Public Schools Virtual Learning Program will be taught by district staff using district curriculum.
“We realize some of our parents are extremely concerned about COVID-19, especially if they have children or other family members with other underlying health issues,” said Superintendent Glenn Maleyko. “This provides an option for parents who know they want their children learning online for at least this school year. Those students will have access to our same great Dearborn teaching staff and the same curriculums used across the district. That consistency will help students succeed while learning from home and if they opt to return to in-building learning the following year.”
Dearborn School parents who want Virtual Learning for their child need to sign their student up for this option. Parents are asked to register before Aug. 17th so staffing arrangements can be made. Classes will start Aug. 31, along with the rest of Dearborn Public Schools. Signup information can be obtained from Students Services at (313) 827-3005, and parents can find out more information about the program by visiting https://vlp.dearbornschools.org/.
Note, Dearborn Public Schools has not yet announced how school will resume this fall. The Board will discuss plans during a special meeting on Aug. 6 and is expected to officially approve a plan on Aug. 10. Any return to school plan that is adopted will likely be reevaluated every month in light of COVID-19 conditions at that time. That means even if the district opts to start classes entirely online for all students, the district could later move back to in-building classes this year.
Participating in the Virtual Learning Program is a year-long commitment for Dearborn students. Students may choose to return to their home school at the start of the 2021-22 school year. If a student wishes to return to in-building learning at the semester break this winter, the district will find a school that is not at enrollment capacity. This may or may not be the student’s home school. If the student is not placed at their home school, they will return to their home building at the beginning of the next school year. Virtual Learning students would still be eligible to participate in other district programs including sports and extracurricular activities, if the child meets all other requirements.
Parents considering the online program should carefully weigh whether committing to this option for the full year is a good match for them and their child. Virtual learning is personalized, but requires students to be self-motivated to complete tasks with less supervision. Parents must be willing and able to help keep their child focused. It also requires students who can self-advocate and reach out to teachers if they have questions or if issues arise. Students will be expected to participate in live lessons and adhere to scheduled classwork and assignments. Middle and high school students will be expected to spend approximately five to eight hours a week on each class for a total of 30 or more hours per week. Elementary students will be expected to work 20 to 30 hours a week on school work.
“Dearborn Public Schools always works to provide our students with personalized options that meet their individual needs. While learning entirely online is not a good fit for many students and families, we want to provide the Virtual Learning Program for those students who would benefit from it,” Superintendent Glenn Maleyko said.