Helena Schools, East Helena Turn to Online Provider | Education

Jane Shawn, president of the Helena Educators Association, agreed that the past year was an extraordinary amount of work and would not be repeated. She said various options were discussed last spring, but only heard about using Edgenuity a few weeks before school started.

“I had no idea they were going to outsource this,” Shawn said. “The teachers are happy to teach in person, I don’t know if they are happy with this outsourced program.”

Unlike Montana Digital Academy, Edgenuity said its teachers are not unionized. Shawn said the union plans to ask the district for a memorandum stating that the company’s services will be a one-time arrangement. The district said it was in talks with the union and stressed the intention is to serve students and families.

Kinsey Rawe, senior vice president of the company, said his classes can be taught by district or company teachers, who are Montana-certified, and the district has no preferences. He said students can ask for help and are in contact with the teacher at least once a week. The district also hired four educational tutors to coordinate between schools, families and the business.

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Previously known for credit recovery or remedial classes, Edgenuity has been frustrated during the pandemic transition to online education, NBC News reported. Rawe said some may have misunderstood that the company is essentially providing a more interactive textbook, different from having a teacher in person.

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