Leander ISD plans to unveil permanent virtual curriculum for some high schoolers this fall

Education

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — The Leander Independent School District is making plans to unveil a fully-virtual high school curriculum for select students.

The goal is to open the 100% remote instruction platform to 300 freshman and sophomore students beginning this fall, with an expansion to the 11th grade in 2022 and the 12th grade in 2023.

Dr. Matthew Bentz, the Chief Academic Officer at LISD, said the pandemic forced the district to expand on its own ideas of a fully-virtual curriculum. Throughout the course of the past year, the district recognized some students were thriving more in a remote setting than they ever were in person.

“We just want to make sure that whatever we are doing, we are meeting our students wherever they need to be and where they learn best,” Bentz said.

The specifics of the model are still being worked out. The district would have a dedicated teaching staff committed to engaging with students virtually. Students would likely spend some days working from home and some days working from campus on a laptop. No official scheduling has been finalized, however.

The district will be sending out a student survey within the next two weeks to test the level of interest for this type of program. After that, a parent information session will lay out more details to ensure families know what they are signing up for.

Bentz emphasized this is not for parents who are concerned for their student’s safety inside the classroom due to ongoing COVID-19 contagions. The plan for LISD, as of now, is to return to in-person learning in the fall. This online program would be for the students who continue to show a mastery of academic concepts through remote learning.

“Online is here to stay and more people are going to want to do it,” Bentz said.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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