78.6 F
Cruz Bay
Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeNewsLocal newsSenators Move to Extend Distance Learning Options Beyond the Pandemic

Senators Move to Extend Distance Learning Options Beyond the Pandemic

Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory at Wednesday’s Senate hearing (Photo by Chaunte Herbert, V.I. Legislature)

Options for distance learning may stick around long after the pandemic ends if legislation advanced Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Education and Workforce Development becomes law. The bill, proposed by Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory, calls for the V.I. Board of Education to construct a distance learning policy for courses taken online, primarily by high school students.

“If there is a course a high school student would like to take, but it is not offered at that particular high school, they can do that on an online platform and get credit for the course. That is something that is not in place right now,” said St. Croix Superintendent Carlos McGregor.

Education Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin said her department “should have modernized its operations to include distance learning some years ago,” but has lacked funding and resources to transform current school operations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the needed financial resources and shift in thinking of the Virgin Islands community necessary to build and implement distance learning,” Berry-Benjamin said.

Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

The percentage of high school students in public school districts who take distance learning courses has risen since 2002, Berry-Benjamin said. While 30 percent of students had taken the courses in 2002, by 2010 53 percent of high schoolers had taken some form of an online class.

“The results of the latest study are expected to reveal an increase from the 2010 numbers, especially with reoccurring budget cuts and the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Berry-Benjamin said.

But it isn’t just the ongoing health crisis that has brought distance learning to the forefront of education. The national teacher shortage that plagues the mainland United States has also impacted the territory.

Because of the shortage of qualified educators, Berry-Benjamin said, “The department has a request for proposal to solicit distance learning instruction for students from providers in hard-to-fill areas … using such [online] platforms, contracted teachers will be required to teach live daily and adopt the districts’ approved curriculum.”

Some of the courses from which Berry-Benjamin said the department has requested proposals are world languages, mathematics, science and advanced placement courses.

Frett-Gregory said the implementation of a distance learning policy, “will allow students to fulfill graduation requirements and elective courses,” and could be relied on in the case of a natural disaster which “many times make[s] in-classroom learning difficult.”

“This legislation is not only for responding to COVID-19 or the aftermath of hurricanes. This is in fact another step towards education reform,” Frett-Gregory said. “Distance learning doesn’t only mean finding an alternative for face-to-face instruction during an emergency. It means giving students greater flexibility in scheduling and assisting under-served students.”

Berry-Benjamin was a strong proponent of the measure and said its implementation is necessary for students to be successful in a newly cultivated, tech-savvy society.

Berry-Benjamin also said she is an advocate for increased technology use within the department, as it could reduce expenditures and increase participation.

“Gone are the days of having to physically meet in person for every meeting. With the increase in technology today, we are now seeing that the amount of time and money expended on some in-person meetings in the past could have been more productive and budget-friendly if they were conducted using tele- or video-conferencing technology widely available today,” Berry-Benjamin said.

Separately, Bill No. 33-0344, which would allow the Department of Education to hire various licensed professionals for the teaching of career and technical courses, was held in committee for further discussion.

Sens. Frett-Gregory, Kurt Vialet, Allison DeGazon, Kenneth Gittens, Stedmann Hodge Jr., Steven Payne Sr., and Janelle Sarauw were present for the Education hearing.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.



JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,348FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
18 hours ago
Virgin Islands Source

Juju & Cece’s Lemonades and Treats is hosting a "Freco and Lemonade" event today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cultured Naturals Body Care located on Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix.

The business, Juju & Cece’s Lemonades, evolved from a summer project put together by 4-year-old Juliett Reid-Ventura and 3-year-old Gracie Reid-Ventura. #visource #usvi #supportlocalbusiness
... See MoreSee Less

Juju & Cece’s Lemonades and Treats is hosting a Freco and Lemonade event today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cultured Naturals Body Care  located on Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix. 

The business, Juju & Cece’s Lemonades, evolved from a summer project put together by 4-year-old Juliett Reid-Ventura and 3-year-old Gracie Reid-Ventura. #visource #usvi #supportlocalbusiness

Comment on Facebook

Cute as a button. Darling little princess. Please protect them

Make sure they Mask 😷 up.

Loving and trusting someone is such a risk and i don't wish any woman to be in the same shoes as i was sometime back when I caught my husband red-handed with my own best friend in our own bed. I couldn't believe it when I saw it and my heart started beating so fast and felt like my body is shaking then I ran straight to my elder sister's house. I cried so much and my sister left me to cry and told me it would help ease the pain I was feeling. Then she sat me down and asked me if I still love my husband and I told her yes of course, and she told me that we all learn and grow through mistakes and no one is perfect and told me that if I wanted my man back I should fight for him and never trust friends again.My sister told me to contact profisma+27783320386 who had helped her husband with financial issues and told me he will help me bring my man back. It took me weeks to think about it because we come from a strong religious background but things worsened because I could not even concentrate at work and i got fired, and after that, i remembered what my sister had told me about consulting with him. That's when I contacted him and told everything, he listened, and told me that he will solve all my problems in 48 hrs. Since it was my first time doing this, i could not believe his words just like that but i had to wait until the time he had promised. I was asked to buy materials to help me which I did, we begun the prayer and results were delivered in three days. My husband called me and asked me where I was, and he came straight to me and confessed how my best friend seduced him, and he was sorry to fall into her trap and showed me all the messages my best friend was sending to him and promised never to see her again and promised to love me and only me. That evening he took me to a romantic dinner, Since prophet isma helped me, I got a better paying job than the previous one, my husband is back to the old man I used to know and he loves me so much and does everything to see that am happy. Thank you so much prophet, your spells indeed work. If you're going through struggles, you can text him on WhatsApp +27783320386 or call him

Load more
Print Friendly, PDF & Email