By Mike Harris
With plans for the fall semester still uncertain, Rim of the World School District is exploring ways in which it might help support parents with a new in-home learning program for K-6 students.
One of the ideas is called Home Choice, and Rim is asking parents to tell the district if they would be interested.
“Our Home Choice education program is open to students in K-6 and partners you (the parent) with a credentialed Rim teacher who will help you plan lessons and assessments. You are required to meet with the teacher on a regular basis (once a week), and you will instruct your child,” according to an email Rim sent to parents last Friday.
Along with the email request sent to K-6 parents, Rim included a link to a brochure detailing the program.
“So far, we have had a positive response from about 150 parents,” David Nygren, coordinator of alternative programs, told The Alpine Mountaineer on Tuesday. “I’m very excited about this.”
Nygren said Rim was exploring the idea of a charter school variation during the 2019-2020 school year.
“We were looking at this before the Coronavirus,” he said. “The virus just makes it really timely.”
Rim has been hearing that parents could use some help with educating their elementary school students.
With the Home Choice plan, the parent or guardian would still be responsible for teaching the child at home, but now a credentialed teacher would be part of the home team.
Parents and their child would be required to meet with a Rim teacher on a regular basis at an elementary school site. The teacher would schedule the meetings and parents could schedule the meetings during a weekday and a time.
Like a charter school program, there would be no cost to the parent and Rim would get paid from the state.
“This would create a chance to find some of these parents who are looking for a home school program,” Nygren said. “The parent would still do the teaching but now there would be a Rim teacher involved.”
If a parent currently has their student enrolled in a charter school, they could switch to Rim’s Home Choice program, he said, and Rim would get the funding for the student rather than the charter school.
Based upon the response Rim gets from parents, the district could add one new teacher for roughly each 25 students. If there are fewer than 25 students, a current Rim teacher could be involved and the teacher would be paid a stipend for the hours they would be involved.
The Home Choice program would only be for grades K-6. Higher grades would still be using the Odysseyware online program the district currently is using.
But based upon the early response, Nygren is hopeful Rim could add at least one new teacher to Rim’s credentialed teacher base.
“We are excited about the response, and this could be part of the way we can move forward this fall,” he said.