Two virtual public school teachers from Oregon Connections Academy are about to embark on an academic adventure when they join a scientific ocean drilling expedition in the Pacific Ocean and share their experiences through the internet with their students back home.
Jim Stewart from Lake Oswego, who teaches high school science, and John Meyer from Mulino, a third grade teacher, are expected to weigh anchor in Victoria British Columbia, Canada on Monday May 20th. They will live onboard the scientific ocean drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution which is 469 feet long, has a 205 foot derrick on top, and can drill about a mile into the ocean surface.
Oregon Connections Academy is the state’s largest online public charter school currently serving around 3,400 students in grades K-12. Stewart and Meyer will join other teachers including Connections Academy teachers from across the country on this trip offered by the School of Rock Expedition for Educators.
“I’m hoping to share how exciting and stimulating it is to learn about our planet and its oceans,” said Stewart who has a background in Earth Sciences. “I intend to incorporate my expedition experience into teaching real world scientific method as applied to Earth and Marine Science in the classroom.”
Oregon Connections Academy is a tuition-free online public charter school. Academy officials say it has a current enrollment of more than 3,300 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students work with certified teachers online and on the phone while a parent or other adult learning coach monitors progress in the home.
The enrollment season is for students who want to attend Oregon Connections Academy for the 2013-14 school year. At the information sessions, parents and students will have an opportunity to learn about the school’s curriculum, and thoroughly explore the program.
“We are very excited to meet new parents and students,” said Todd Miller, Executive Director of Oregon Connections Academy. “The information sessions give us an opportunity to interact with families interested in enrolling their children in our wonderful school.”
SWEET HOME — More work needs to be done before the Sweet Home School District will offer its own online education program, according to Superintendent Don Schrader.
The superintendent initially had planned to get the program going this month. But in a brief update Monday to the Sweet Home School Board, he said the teachers’ union is working with him to get some questions answered first.
In other contract business Monday, board members voted 7-0 to approve a five-year contract for administrators, supervisors and confidential employees. Chanz Keeney and Dale Keene were absent.
The contract was approved with one change: A $3,500 stipend received by Principal Elena Barton for the duties of special education director will be moved to her individual contract rather than stay in the master contract.
The decision follows a 5-3 vote in November, with Jenny Daniels absent, to increase the salary schedule for administrators from five steps to 10.
In his update on the proposed online program, Schrader said the contract with certified employees requires the district to negotiate the impact of distance learning opportunities.
Lisa Canaday, president of the Sweet Home Education Association, said the union has several questions, including which classes the district will offer, who will be allowed to take them, who will grade the work and what will happen if the teacher administering the program isn’t certified to teach that subject.