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EACS embraces eLearning plan

Also extends school day to offset snow days

– Despite at least one board member’s concern, East Allen County Schools officials approved an eLearning plan Tuesday to help make up for some of the district’s missed instructional time.

School board members also approved a plan to continue adding 30 minutes to each school day through May 8.

EACS students have missed 14 days because of snow and ice but have been in the process of making up for missed time by extending each school day.

Each full week of extended days allows the district to make up three hours, and by May 8, students will have made up 25 hours of instruction, Superintendent Ken Folks said.

The Indiana Department of Education recognizes elementary school days as five hours and a secondary school day as six hours.

With the current plan, elementary school students will make up five days and middle and high school students will make up four days and one hour, Folks explained.

To avoid a situation in which older students would be required to go an extra day, district officials approved an eLearning plan to help middle and high school students make up an additional five hours.

Folks said the district will likely select a Saturday in April for the eLearning day but will meet next week to discuss the exact date.

Students across the district will have access to computer labs at schools or can use their school one-to-one devices to complete the lessons within seven days of the eLearning day, Folks said.

“Let’s say we pick a Saturday in April to be an eLearning day,” Folks said. “We’ll have a computer lab open in a school in each area, and then those students will have a week to complete the work.”

Christopher Baker, school board vice president, said he was “still struggling” with the concept of an eLearning day and what it would mean for students.

“I’m just not comfortable with it. I don’t think we have it well thought out,” Baker said.

Parents, students and school employees received information about the proposal Friday evening and have been supportive of the decision, Folks said.

“Everything I’ve heard from everyone so far has been positive,” he said.

Baker later voted in favor of the proposal that was approved 7-0.

One of the district’s 14 missed days was waived by the Indiana Department of Education, and two others were made up in February.

Six days will be added to the end of the year, Folks said.

The last student day will be June 4.

East Allen mascot

Also on Tuesday, board members unanimously approved a school mascot for East Allen University.

The mascot – a blue jay – features a blue bird carrying a yellow ribbon with “EAU” printed in black letters. The bird also carries a torch, representing lighting the path to students’ futures.

Freshmen Landrie Jones, Isaiah Rivera and Katie Watson presented the mascot to board members.

Students and staff considered other mascot options such as a trailblazer or raven, but decided to move forward with blue jays that shared the same characteristics and color scheme as the school, the students explained.

Watson explained that the blue jay was selected because it is an intelligent and curious creature that is extremely loyal. Blue jays are also known to be leaders, she said.

“We strive to be leaders in our community and throughout East Allen County Schools,” Watson said.

“And we are ready to be recognized as much as blue jays are.”

East Allen University, housed in the former Paul Harding High School, offers classes to about 200 freshmen and sophomore students who may complete an associate degree through Vincennes University.