“We know that this has forever changed our teachers and our students,” says Centennial High School Principal Tom Breuning.
He says while some students have struggled with distance learning, others have excelled under the virtual model, so Centennial High School will offer two options to continue online instruction. That includes tripling the number of hybrid courses offered.
“For next year with our hybrid, we’re really looking at our core areas, and our focus is more with the social studies and language arts areas for the hybrid offerings,” says Breuning. “However, we do have some math offerings, we do have some science offerings, we do have a couple electives.”
Students will be able to tune in on their own schedule, giving them more flexibility. There’s also an emphasis on teacher guidance.
“They may do it at night, they may do it in the morning, but the teacher is constantly checking in with the student to assess where they’re at, where the learning targets are, where they need to improve, where they need to study more, and guiding,” says Breuning.
The other path is a complete online learning plan that could go a step further.
“Now we’re also looking at, a virtual academy where a student can have their whole education online, or they may just take a course here or there and then come in,” said Breuning. “So we’re really looking at both. We are currently in the process of being certified through the Minnesota Department of Education to be an online provider.”
In the Anoka-Hennepin School District, elementary, middle school, and high school virtual online programs will be offered for students that want to continue virtual learning next year. Interested families are asked to fill out a form expressing their interest by the end of February.
Principal Breuning expects most Centennial High School students to opt to return to traditional school for the social and emotional aspects of high school. But COVID has had a lasting impact.
“I look at my teachers right now and where they have grown from having to move between different learning modes. I think we’re all excited to get back to where we have kids in the building, but as a staff, we have grown. So it’s a challenging time, but it’s an exciting time also.”
Principal Breuning points out many colleges and universities are doing more online learning, so getting used to it in high school is good preparation.