Lewisburg got a jump on the school year by offering virtual and in-person students an opportunity to participate in Learning Pods or Learning Communities, programs designed to allow groups of students to meet with their teacher once a week. The name simply distinguishes whether the student is registered as an in-person or totally virtual student. “Our staff has worked extremely hard to ensure the virtual learning environment is not the same as we ended within the spring,” said Dr. Josh Matthews, principal of Lewisburg School. Matthews continued, “We did the best we could at the end of last year, but it simply wasn’t good enough. We are committed to offering a whole new level of support and virtual education this year.”
This year every student was offered an opportunity to participate in a learning pod or community. The learning communities for in-person students meet when school is not in session. Since the Logan County district started on virtual instruction for the first two weeks of school, the learning communities met starting the week of August 31st. Lewisburg can conduct these small group sessions because the Kentucky Department of Education allows for 15% of the student population to attend school for small group intervention even when school is not open for in-person instruction. “It was great having the students back on campus. We were able to get some initial testing done and familiarize them with the new procedures. The first in-person day on September 9 was not our first day with the students which made the day more productive.” said Matthews.
The learning pods started on August 31st as well, and they meet weekly with their teacher. The virtual students utilize facilities around Lewisburg to meet as a small group. Christy Lucas, Lewisburg Assistant Principal, worked with families and local organizations to form the learning pods. “It was a big job, but I am proud of the work and what we are accomplishing. Every virtual student will have access to a staff member in-person once a week. The staff member will help them with their assignments and clarify any misunderstandings.” said Lucas.
In addition to the learning communities or pods, every Lewisburg student has been assigned a mentor who will meet with the student once a week. The mentoring sessions will be focused on social/emotional health and goal setting. Christy Lucas is particularly excited about the mentoring program, “The guidance counselor part of me is so excited about our mentoring program. We have done this as part of our Summit Learning Platform over the past two years, but now we are bringing it to every student, and that is awesome.”
Dr. Matthews has been amazed by his staff, the students, and the parents of Lewisburg School, “This is a team effort. The parents and students have been amazing in terms of their flexibility, dedication, and commitment to learning. Our staff has worked tirelessly to put all this together and make the learning experience engaging and productive. This has been a big undertaking, but I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for us.”