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Jeffco Remote Learning Program to be offered Fall 2021

Beginning Fall 2021, Jeffco will offer families a new PK-12 100 percent remote learning option. The new program, Jeffco Remote Learning Program (JRLP), will offer synchronous remote instruction in dedicated remote-student only classes.

The instruction offered through JRLP will differ from the remote instruction currently offered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, explained Tom McDermott, chief strategy officer.

JRLP teachers will only teach remote students, as opposed to now when many teachers are simultaneously teaching in-person hybrid students, remote hybrid students, and fully remote students.

Secondly, although students will be enrolled at and connected to their school of choice, their classes will include remote students from other schools. Plus, Jeffco staff from a variety of schools and programs will teach the remote students. In comparison, in-person students will continue to be taught by school-based staff.

JRLP will also differ from the remote instruction currently offered through the option school Jeffco Virtual Academy (JVA).

JVA offers asynchronous instruction, with one-to-one support available as needed, McDermott explained. The new JRLP will offer daily live, scheduled instruction for students who want to continue remote learning but prefer a synchronous model.

Students have started to enroll in the Jeffco Remote Learning Program

Jeffco has already enrolled 30 students in the new remote program, according to Marcia Anker, interim deputy superintendent. Another 116 students were currently in the progress of enrolling, Anker told Jeffco School Board members during their March 4 meeting.

The district anticipates even more enrollment.

Currently, approximately 20,000 Jeffco students have chosen to be fully remote, Anker said.

In addition, more than 600 additional Jeffco students are enrolled in fully remote programs outside of Jeffco. JRLP would provide a way for those students to come back to Jeffco next year, she said.

Anker added that in a recent school leadership survey, more than 1,300 families indicated an interest in being fully remote last year.

“Based on this information we believe the demand is sufficient to operate the program,” Anker said.

Jeffco Remote Learning Program FAQs

The amount of synchronous learning will likely differ by grade, McDermott explained. There will probably be more synchronous instruction for younger elementary students than students in middle and high school, he said.

McDermott added that to improve the program, they will also do research with current remote families now, and consult best practice research as they design the program for fall.

Advanced Classes and Learning Plans

JRLP will honor all learning plans. The program will offer special education, gifted and talented, social emotional learning, and counseling services, McDermott said.

Based on demand, honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes may be offered through JRLP, along with GT program and concurrent enrollment options. By centralizing the program, Jeffco hopes to be able to offer a wider range of remote classes, he explained.

However, International Baccalaureate (IB) classes and dual language programs will not be offered through JRLP during the 2021-22 year.

How they recruit and hire teachers for the program will also depend on demand and program needs, McDermott said.

Connection with current school

Participating in JRLP also allows students to connect with their current school. Families will continue to receive communications from their current school. School staff will also connect virtually with students each week.

Students will also be able to attend activities and participate in athletics, clubs, assemblies and dances at their current school.

Families will commit to being remote for a trimester or semester at a time. They have the option to switch back to in-person learning at their current school at the end of grading periods. Families can also appeal due to special circumstances, McDermott said.

Funding for JRLP

One reason for offering JRLP is that some families will continue to have health concerns about COVID-19 this fall and beyond, McDermott said. Currently, no vaccine is available for children under age 16, and this is part of Jeffco’s thinking.

As a result, Jeffco may be able to use some CARES Act funding to help offset costs.

Funding for the program after the 2021-22 school year is up in the air, McDermott added. Jeffco would like to keep this as an ongoing option for families, he said. Continued programming would depend on demand and available funding, he said.

How to enroll in the Jeffco Remote Learning Program

Enrollment for JRLP is currently open through Enroll Jeffco. Families interested in enrolling should log in to Enroll Jeffco, locate their student, and either choose “edit application” if they have already accepted an offer, or click “apply to another school.”

After verifying information, look for the “learning preference” question and choose “remote” in the drop-down menu. Step-by-step instructions are also available.

Families interested in enrolling students in JRLP need to select the program in Enroll Jeffco by March 26.

After March 26, all applicants will be sent to the JRLP waitlist and will receive offers as space is available.

More information about JRLP is available on the Jeffco Schools website.

Lisa Cook

Lisa Cook, Ph.D., is a writer, editor, musicologist and Jeffco resident since 1999 with two children attending Jeffco Schools. Lisa earned a BA from Valparaiso University, a Masters in Music from Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. When not working, she can be found running (ideally on mountain trails) with Midnight, her miniature poodle. Please visit our "About Us" page to learn more about Lisa and our other writers.

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