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By Carmen Ensinger
North Greene Superintendent Mark Scott told board members that Lewis and Clark Community College is wanting to get on board with the Rise Network and start offering classes similar to the way they offer classes.
The Rise Network is a consortium of over 70 Illinois Schools that have joined together to offer what they call “long distance learning.” The premise behind the network is that one school might be able to offer the services of a teacher to another district through live, online classes which would allow the student to interact with a live teacher rather than just communicate through an email.
For example, say Carrollton has a Spanish teacher but North Greene doesn’t and they can’t find one. Rather than cancel the course, or pay for an online course, students could take the course via the computer when it is offered. The teacher would be in Carrollton teaching and the student would be in North Greene, but they would still be face to face on the computer with live, two-way communication.
“Now that we have this Rise Network program that is going to be installed here, Lewis and Clark, is really pushing to have some of their courses through this,” Scott said. “They want to do this instead of doing like in the past where they would have either the early bird classes or the after-school classes for courses like English and math.”
Geographically, Scott said it makes a lot of sense.
“We are the furthest school district to the north in their region,” he said. “We have the technology, so there is no reason we can’t offer some of these classes.”
There might be one tiny glitch, however, especially when it comes to the high school courses.
“North Greene is on a block schedule and all of the other schools in our area are on a regular schedule,” Scott said. “We might run into a little difficulty there.”
Even with the possible scheduling problems, Scott said it is better than the alternative.
“If we have a student wanting to take Spanish, I would much rather pay Greenfield a little extra and use their teacher than pay Edgenuity for their totally online course,” Scott said. “At least with this you have an instructor they can communicate with instead of just emailing a question to them.”
Other members of the Rise Network are Carrollton, Greenfield, Calhoun and Carlinville.
Scott gave board members an update on their status with Egyptian Trust.
“Our withdrawal penalty is down to around $170,000 now with the monthly check runs being lower,” Scott said. “We are going to keep monitoring that. There have been a couple changes to the plan but it really isn’t going to affect anyone here. Those who have prescription maintenance drugs are going to have to get them through mail order. Other than that, the plan is exactly the same – same co-pay and same deductible.”
The Illinois Association of School Board recommends that a school district update their policy manuals every eight to 10 years. North Greene’s policy manuals have not been updated since White Hall and Roodhouse consolidated to form the North Greene School District in 1964.
Therefore, last month, the board approved a $12,000 expenditure to have both the policy manuals and the administrative procedures updated.
“This is going to be a long process on their part,” Scott said. “They are going to come in next month (December) and it will be a several step process. We will go over the first draft in February or March, review certain sections in May and June and adopt the new policy manuals and administrative procedures in July of 2023.”