MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Online schools help struggling students in post-pandemic world

Sep 26, 2022, 9:53 AM | Updated: 11:51 am

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Joanne Collins Brock, a second grade teacher at St Francis School, teaches online in her empty classroom. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

As Washington students continue returning to their classrooms for the new school year, some experts warn not all kids will thrive in an in-person environment. Especially as many K-12 students continue to struggle due to learning loss experienced during school shutdowns throughout the pandemic.

Julie Powers is a counselor at Insight School of Washington – an online public school that provides kids who are struggling with anything from bullying to educational needs and beyond – and says that the high amount of mental health problems facing many students was made substantially worse by the pandemic.

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Last year, 76% of U.S. public schools reported increased concern about students’ anxiety, depression, and trauma.

“There’s so much going on with students’ mental health,” Powers said. “I mean, we’ve always had students with anxiety, but it [has] just risen. And I think it’s just so much for them to handle sometimes. It’s really sad.”

The good news is that kids who have fallen behind or are struggling in traditional public schools have other options to help them get to graduation.

“You have to have a little bit of self-motivation and be a self-starter,” Powers said. “If not, then if the parents are present and involved in the school they can encourage the students to get online, and our teachers will send out reminders. All of our students just really thrive in our environment because there’s that one-on-one also that we provide, which is really nice, especially if students are shy or they’re introverted, which a lot of them are.”

Powers believes Insight and similar online public schools are good for any kid. Still, you’ve got to have buy-in from parents or guardians to ensure the students do the work.

Like traditional schools, there is much more to offer students as they make their way through their education, including virtual clubs and more for students to remain socially engaged.

Powers says in the nearly 20 years she has been at Insight, she has seen the education they offer change lives and likely save lives.

Follow Hanna Scott on Twitter or email her here

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Online schools help struggling students in post-pandemic world