While several key subjects that affect the community were on the docket at Monday’s Fergus Falls School Board meeting, one interesting resolution involved the school district’s online classroom.
A resolution to close enrollment in the Fergus Falls school’s iQ Academy at the end of April was voted on by the board. The school had remained open until the last week of May for online students. Board member Melanie Cole mentioned that the district was the only one that kept their online enrollment open this long in the state.
Fergus Falls iQ Academy assistant principal, Ryan Johnson stated that the move was done after careful research. “When looking at closing enrollment we found that students that enrolled with us around April 1 had a course passing rate of 50%,” Johnson said. “We discussed as a team and determined that keeping enrollment open in April is a great thing for those students that are passing courses. As we get into May the course passing rate drops dramatically.”
“I believe we have stayed open to be available to those students who are needing alternative options to the traditional school setting,” Cheryl Bormann, iQMN counselor said. “It has been a challenge in years past to enroll such large numbers of students with such a short amount of time remaining in the school year.”
At Monday’s meeting, Johnson explained that the process to begin classes at the school’s iQ Academy had some varying factors, but it usually takes around 2-3 weeks. Families have to submit documentation, which is pivotal in placement, go through seminars on how to use the school’s software and to meet with a counselor. After this has been completed, the student will have the opportunity to attend online class connects.
“We found that throwing students into classes right away, they don’t really know what is going on,” Johnson said at Monday’s meeting.
The board approved the resolution.
Johnson believes that the move will allow teachers, academic advisors and counselors to concentrate on the students that were already enrolled and help them end the year strong.
Bormann echoed Johnson’s sentiments.
“As a school, we are welcoming 5-20 new students a week throughout the year. This takes a considerable amount of time and effort from all of us including teachers, administrators and school support. We are excited to offer many students a different option than the traditional school setting, and we are often able to meet students where they are at. That being said, we have seen very little success in students who have transferred to us in the last month of school. The benefit is that we will be able to focus on the students who are currently enrolled, and hopefully increase our passing rates with this additional focus.”