Charter elementary is first locally to kick off 2020-21 school year

North Dayton School of Discovery
North Dayton School of Discovery

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

North Dayton School of Discovery on Monday became the first local K-12 school to begin its school year, holding classes fully online.

North Dayton is part of the National Heritage Academies charter school chain. The other two local NHA schools, Emerson Academy and Pathway School of Discovery, begin classes Wednesday, also online.

North Dayton school officials deferred comment Monday to NHA, which did not immediately return phone calls.

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In a late July letter to families, North Dayton Principal Victoria Simmons said continuing disagreements with Dayton Public Schools over busing procedures were a major reason for the online start.

Simmons wrote that the school’s remote educational approach would be similar to last spring, but with each student receiving a Chromebook or tablet to work at home, and teachers hosting live virtual instruction with small groups, in addition to other videos.

“Our goal is to provide a seamless educational opportunity that includes the same quality content that keeps our kids learning and on track,” Simmons wrote. “The well-being of your child remains our number one priority.”

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In recent days, the school has been sending simple but important reminders — that students should eat, use the bathroom and charge their Chromebooks before class; that online announcements would happen at 8 a.m. each day before students click to join their individual classes; and that they should mute their microphones when not speaking during class.

Technology issues are a major concern for all schools during remote learning. The NHA chain has a “virtual learning hub” on its website, but there’s also local help. Individual teachers are supposed to help students with log-in issues and finding assignments on the Google Classroom platform. The school’s “library technology specialist” will help with damaged technology (broken screens or missing keys on Chromebook laptops).

When issues can’t be resolved, they are referred to NHA’s “parent relations team.”

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During normal, in-person classes, the school, like others in Dayton, would be providing breakfast and lunch to students. During this remote period, the school is offering breakfast and lunch meal-kit pickup for students on Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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