Students work virtually with a scientist from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
By Susan Helton; photos courtesy of eDCSD
Because students learn in different ways and can need different environments to thrive academically, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) offers options to help families find the educational program best fitting their child. One option is eDCSD, a kindergarten through 12th grade online education program. Douglas County students are eligible to apply, even if they currently attend a brick-and-mortar DCSD school. eDCSD accepts new enrollments each quarter during the school year for both full and part-time students.
Last school year, Castle Pines resident Michelle Perovich enrolled her son Joe in eDCSD for fifth grade, transferring from a traditional school. “eDCSD got him signed up and got our material to us much quicker than I would have expected. Pretty much, once they received the paperwork from the brick-and-mortar school, they had him enrolled and had the login the very next day,” said Perovich.
eDCSD students work on lessons predominantly online, at their own pace, with assignments due each week. “Every lesson was taught in a variety of learning styles: visual, auditory, hands-on ... so you could learn in your way,” Perovich said. On her computer, Perovich could see Joe’s assignments, and she also received additional information to help in her role as Joe’s learning coach. Joe’s classes for fifth grade included language arts, math, social studies, science, technology and physical education. Through eDCSD, Joe discovered a love of science and history.
Students learn how to do the laundry at Four Mile Historic Park.
One day a week, students attend a blended learning session in Castle Rock where they work together on hands-on group projects focusing on a different theme each quarter. Students unable to attend blended learning can meet in the virtual classroom to do the same activities. One theme that Joe studied last year was hunger. Joe interviewed The Connection’s managing editor Lynne Marsala Basche about hunger in Douglas County, conducted a food drive in his neighborhood and visited a local food bank. He also made food bags for the hungry that held enough food for two full meals, with money for a third.
Students at eDCSD have monthly field trip opportunities and also work on two passion projects, which are in-depth, self-directed investigations. Joe’s projects were the civil war and the history of baseball. “The best part of eDCSD was the field trips,” Joe stated. Field trips he attended included visits to Anderson Farms, the Denver Dumb Friends League, the Colorado History Museum and Vitamin Cottage. The elementary students are welcome on the secondary field trips if they are interested.
“It was a good year. I think it started off a little bit scary. Like, oh my gosh, how are we going to be able to do this? And then by the end of the year, it was a very good, positive experience,” said Perovich. “For Joe, what was good was being able to just do school in a comfortable way that he could feel confident about. The teachers were phenomenal. They just could not have been nicer; they could not have been more encouraging.”
To learn more about eDCSD, visit www.dcsdk12.org/school/edcsd.