Students in the Milton School District last attended school in person on March 16. Three days later the district began Virtual Learning Days.

“We were fortunate that we had a virtual learning draft plan put together,” said Director of Curriculum and Instruction Ryan Ruggles.

He said he’s proud of how teachers, students and the community responded to the pandemic in the spring, Ruggles said, adding virtual learning wasn’t perfect.

Troy Aumann, a student going into seventh grade, told the school board he didn’t thrive during online schooling.

“I feel like I get better grades when I see my teachers,” he said.

He also pointed to technology troubles: sometimes there would be no online teaching because teachers couldn’t log on.

School board member Dave Holterman said he’s glad the return-to-school plan has options.

“So many kids lost structure in Version 1.0 of virtual learning,” he said.

Superintendent Rich Dahman said, “We have a good number of staff that have been and are going to continue taking professional development on what is best practice in virtual instruction.”

They will then share what they learned with other teachers, he said.

Platforms have been narrowed to Seesaw for grades 4K-3 and Schoology for grades 4-12.

“We learned a lot of lessons,” Ruggles said.

Looking to 2020-21, he said the district is taking virtual learning to the next level with Virtual Learning 2.0.

One of the goals is to look at the balance of synchronous (learning in time with a group/cohort) versus asynchronous learning (learning on a student’s own schedule).

Another goal is more engagement, more creativity, more collaboration, Ruggles said.

What will be done specifically with virtual learning depends on how many students sign up for virtual learning.

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