Video: Tupelo Middle School First In State To Offer Online Options

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TUPELO, MISS.  (WCBI) – Distance learning is opening the door to new learning opportunities for colleges and high schools across the country. This yea, one Northeast Mississippi school is opening those doors to middle school students. And as WCBI’s Allie Martin tells us, it’s been such a success, Tupelo Middle School is expanding the pilot program this fall.

Everyday, students at Tupelo Middle School spend hours in the classroom, but a handful of seventh graders have been getting online lessons.

Dana Boozer teaches Information and Communication Technology 1,and offers the course through an online platform. The class allows students who need an elective to take one, while freeing up a traditional class period in school because the work is done away from school.

“They are in a hybrid situation where if I need to see them during the school day for issues or problems I can pull them, but otherwise, all the delivery comes from online,” said Boozer.

The online course is the first of its kind offered in the state and next school year, eighth graders will be able to take ICT 2 and World Geography and Mississippi history through the internet.

“We’re trying to appeal to the student who is intrinsically motivated and are hard workers and have passed the test, per se, for seventh grade ICT 1  online and we are wanting those students in our eighth grade online course,” said TMS Teacher Anthony Golding.

Of course, many middle school students are tech savvy but much of that experience revolves around social media, watching movies or listening to music. Educators say the pilot program will show them how technology can be used for academics.

“We want to show them that the internet is so much more than that, there are research databases, academic journals, many forms of educational benefits through the internet and we want to show our students that world,” Golding said.

Principal Dr. Kristy Luse says the bold experiment shows the district isn’t afraid of new ideas.

“It also lets everyone else know that we’re willing to embrace change, and change is the best thing, if the students are at the heart of the change,” Dr. Luse said.

Dr. Luse says several area schools have asked about starting similar online courses. Also program will be showcased at seminars across the state.  Dr. Luse believes opportunities for online courses at the middle school level will increase in the future.

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