Belvidere high schools to expand online learning opportunities

BELVIDERE (WREX) – No classroom? No problem. A new class structure at Belvidere’s high schools lets students learn online.

“Most of our assignments are on Canvas, which is like our online digital page, and students can access them anytime, anywhere from their Chromebooks, from either their home, Starbucks or in our library,” Belvidere HS teacher Sarah Nordstrom said. She’s co-teaching one of the first blended classes.

It’s called a blended class, a combination of classroom and online learning. While this kind of structure is common for colleges, Belvidere and Belvidere North are two of the first high schools in our area to try it out.

“So, I was kind of anxious about the process starting, concerned about will we be able to keep the pace, will we keep up, but we’ve seen a lot of success,” Belvidere High School Jennifer Blaise said.

With more flexibility, teachers say students who normally struggle to keep up with in-class work are able to take more responsibility for their learning.

“We’ve really found that if you treat students like adults, they start acting like adults, and taking ownership of what they want to do, so that’s really been the best part of blended classes that we’ve seen,” Nordstrom said.

Right now, the high schools offer three blended classes, but next year that’s expanding to fifteen.

“So, students can choose to take any of those courses in the blended format or as a traditional course,” Assistant Superintendent David Carson said.

More choices that could help more students find success in the classroom.

“You put something online and you give the kids the tools to move at their own pace but then have me and my co-teacher to help,” Nordstrom said. “We’re like the guides on the side rather than the sage on the stage.”

It’s a new class concept that’s changing the way students and teachers approach learning in Belvidere high schools.

Here are some of the new ‘blended’ classes being offered in the 2019-2020 school year…

Belvidere High School

  • Professional Writing
  • English 10 Accelerated
  • AP Literature & Composition
  • Spanish 3
  • Consumer Education
  • Geometry
  • Psychology

Belvidere North High School 

  • Professional Writing
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Creative Writing
  • AP Statistics
  • Chemistry
  • AP Physics
  • Ancient World History
  • Geometry

 

Taylor Utzig

Taylor Utzig

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