The topic of one-on-one was discussed during the Monroe County School Board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 13.

The one-to-one plan means providing one student with one computer intended for the use of virtual learning.

Monroe County School Director Dr. DeAnna McClendon announced an expert on the topic to inform the board of the pros and cons associated with the program.

Jill Pierce, chief technology officer with McMinn County Schools, was selected to help the teachers and staff for Monroe County Schools utilize the one-for-one program successfully.

Pierce warned the board that there would be things that they cannot prepare for.

“Even in the most successful one-to-one, because of what has happened with COVID there are just a lot of things that we are having to do in a rapid fire motion that you cannot prepare for,” Pierce said. “It has changed how we do things with an implication. Usually we would plan for a year but COVID has rushed that timeline a lot.”

One of the key features of the program is the addition of “tools” available to the teachers and students.

“Many people think that when you go to a one-to-one that you are trying to replace a classroom teacher, but no, what you are doing is giving that teacher more avenues to do differentiating instruction,” she said. “That really helps us try to educate those kids.”

The program also allows for education to continue in the event the schools have to be closed down due to COVID-19 or in the event of a different pandemic.

She spoke about the goals the program should focus on.

“Our goal is to provide Chromebooks to the students in the middle and secondary grades, provide professional development to all faculty and staff, provide information and training to students and families on effective use of Chromebooks for individual students,” she stated.

She also advised the board to make sure the teachers communicate with their students.

“They will be the ones who can tell you if the program is working or not,” Pierce said.

Lastly, Pierce reminded the board of the laws that are associated with the program.

“There are a lot of guidelines that have been set by the state that we have to follow,” she said. “The attendance law that there is 6-1/2 hours 1st grade through 12th ... a lot of parents forget about that so that type of thing is something that you have to know when you get into virtual schooling, so just keep in mind that there will be some hiccups.”

The school board is still working on their virtual school timeline, however they did decide to close school on Aug. 24 for a “virtual day” where students and teachers would spend the day utilizing virtual school with the intent of allowing them to familiarize themselves with the system.

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