Fred Rundle, Mercer Island School District assistant superintendent of Learning Services, presents a webinar on alternative learning experiences on Aug. 20.

Fred Rundle, Mercer Island School District assistant superintendent of Learning Services, presents a webinar on alternative learning experiences on Aug. 20.

School district leads alternative learning experiences webinar

Event covers MIonline, special education services and more.

In response to a multitude of questions from families regarding options for students, the Mercer Island School District held an alternative learning experiences (ALE) webinar on Aug. 20.

With the start of the school year on the horizon — one that will begin remotely on Sept. 2 — Fred Rundle, district assistant superintendent of Learning Services, presented the webinar based on information from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and local district practices.

“It is a unique situation that we’re all finding ourselves in right now. School districts, parents,” he said. “So, I’m in it right with you in terms of trying to figure out how do we make this all work this fall.”

On ALE — with the district utilizing MIonline — Rundle said the public education includes partial funding for each student, and some or all of the instruction occurs outside of regular classrooms. While the district teacher is responsible for designing and learning, scope and sequence and instructional materials, a parent or trusted adult will need to provide support in the learning process and partner with the teacher.

“Something that’s important to realize is that in any ALE partnership, there is a certain amount of adult support that needs to happen outside of the school day. The younger the student, the more support that’s needed, typically,” Rundle said.

On the kindergarten and first-grade front, Rundle added that during some time spent with the students during the summer, he saw them make meaningful progress and was encouraged by the team that worked with the kids.

Whereas MIonline was only previously implemented minimally in the high-school realm, the program will now be available for all students throughout their full schedules.

“This year, in response to parents and students looking for expanded options, we’re now what we call a single district or a single-provider district. That means that we can offer from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade, online education,” Rundle said. “It can be for a student who only wants a part of their day in the high school, that might be one or two classes; in the elementary, that might be just in math.”

Other topics featured at the webinar were:

* The district will start the year with Red Remote Learning, which is considered basic education, and involves a full learning day.

* A child can receive special education services when not enrolled as a full-time district student. Private school students may partially enroll in the district to receive services.

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