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Weber School District Creates Online-Only K-12 School

OGDEN, Utah – The high demand for online classes pushed officials with the Weber School District to create a K-12 online-only school.

The district just hired the principal 10 days ago. All of their students should be learning from home by the end of the week.

The plan is to make the online experience better than what many experienced at the start of the pandemic.

“Teaching face-to-face and teaching online are two totally different things,” said Jennifer Boyer-Thurgood, principal of the new online school. “In 10 days, we’ve worked with every department in our district to get teachers hired, to get back-end technology working.”

Jennifer Boyer-Thurgood is the principal of the new online-only school in the Weber School District. (Mike Anderson, KSL-TV)

Many families who are seeking the stay-at-home option are getting online in what may be a different way than before — with teachers working from the district’s administration building, and the innovation campus.

“In our K-6 Weber Online, we’ve hired seven dedicated teachers to work with those kids,” Boyd-Thurgood said.

Also, dozens of secondary teachers take an online period to help out.

“A lot of teachers will get a buy-out to work all their periods and not have a prep period,” she said.

Boyer-Thurgood said students will get a course that is built better for online learning, which is something many teachers struggled with while also teaching in-person classes.

“All of a sudden, our teachers were trying to manage, you know, all of that, and it just wasn’t sustainable,” she said.

She said teachers and students will now get something better suited for their needs.

Some of the classes will include 100 or more students.

“The ratios are actually a little bit higher, now that our kids are in Weber Online,” Boyer-Thurgood said. “We have between 100 and 150 to each grade level, and only one teacher with them, but as far as an online load goes, that’s a very reasonable load if that’s what you’re doing full-time.”

Boyer-Thurgood said students will have better access to teachers at the online school because they will not have to split their time between online and in-person classes.

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