DCS searching for new online learning platform


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmediamidwest.com



Delaware City Schools has begun its search for a new online learning platform after terminating its agreement with Acellus.

The district planned to use Acellus for its online learning academy this year but announced Aug. 28 that it had terminated the agreement after certain materials were found in lessons on the platform.

“Although much of the content is well done, there are lessons which contain racially and culturally insensitive material,” said Assistant Superintendent Craig Heath in a message to parents. “Given these findings, we cannot in good conscience move forward with Acellus as our online academy platform.”

Heath said in the message the district is searching for a new learning platform, but the process could take several weeks.

He added Online Academy staff will be reaching out to students this week to “begin building individual connections and classroom community, identifying learning goals, and working on the social emotional aspects of transitioning back to learning.” Next week, Heath said, will be the start of “rigorous academic instruction.”

“Please be aware that learning expectations and time devoted to work will increase in week 2 for students,” he said.

Jennifer Ruhe, the district’s director of communications, said in an email Tuesday the district used the platform last summer to allow a few specific students to complete coursework online. The district wasn’t made aware of any issues at that point.

Ruhe said the issues with the material surfaced as the start of the school year approached.

“With school starting last week in many districts in Ohio and nationwide, reports started to surface regarding specific lessons (mostly at lower grade levels) that had insensitive content,” Ruhe said. “Our leadership team began reaching out to other school leaders to gather additional information.”

Ruhe added the district is searching for a replacement for Acellus, and it will not rely solely on Canvas.

“We are actively vetting robust online platforms for our DCS Online Academy students,” Ruhe said. “While Canvas offers many great features, an online learning platform will assist our teaching staff with quality academic lessons that can be used to meet our district’s needs and standards.”

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By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmediamidwest.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.