Texarkana Arkansas School District launches all-virtual learning academy

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 1:31 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) - COVID-19 has caused ArkLaTex schools to make adjustments to provide a quality education to students. One Texarkana, Ark. elementary school has become one of 11 schools in the state to try something different to keep student learning moving forward.

There’s no one physically inside Dr. Elisabeth Eaton’s 2nd grade classroom, but this class is filled with students.

<sot: Dr. Elisabeth Eaton, teacher> “...we are interacting and working with them every day we do small group intervention we do all things that would happen in a regular classroom and we do it live we just do it on the small screen with zoom...”

After one year of hybrid teaching, a combination of virtual and in-person instruction, the State of Arkansas granted the Texarkana Arkansas School District permission to offer total virtual learning to some elementary students. The district has now opened the Digital Learning Academy.

“An academy that is meant for parents and students that do not feel comfortable being in person in schools at the time,” said Dr. Elisabeth Eaton, a teacher.

The academy is located on the North Heights School campus on E 35th Street.

Amber Ridgell tells KSLA her 7-year-old son, “KJ”, has a compromised immune system, so they decided to attend the Digital Learning Academy. Ridgell says they attended school virtually in 2020, but this is different from hybrid teaching.

“This year is better because now we can communicate with an actual teacher that is not in class having to take breaks to do Zoom,” said Ridgell.

“Because it is hard to teach and watch a class and look at a screen and teach and watch a class. Somebody loses...” said Dr. Eaton.

Leaders at the school say both students and participating parents can benefit from this type of teaching.

“So having a computer and learning how they do things is completely different than how we’ve done things,” Ridgell said.

Officials say things are progressing well at the academy thanks to the availability of more resources for teachers and students.

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