DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Students and parents packed Thursday’s DeSoto County School Board meeting to complain about the district’s virtual learning program.
Kayla Tyson, a junior at Olive Branch High School, told WMC Action News 5 that she only has one teacher who offers recorded lessons. The rest of her virtual learning experience for classes like chemistry, she said, is spent watching videos with zero communication from her instructors.
“I’m the type of learner I need my teacher in front of me to teach,” she said.
Tyson gives the DeSoto County Schools virtual learning program a failing grade.
“Like my dad says, I’m just passing by,” she said. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just doing this to pass, and that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to do this to pass and to learn.”
Kayla and other frustrated students and parents voiced their concerns to the DeSoto County School Board on Thursday.
Yolanda Reeves has two daughters in the school system, one in middle school, the other in high school.
“Education is number one for me with my children,” she told WMC Action News 5. “We’ve been working every day, sunup to sundown, trying to complete assignments without any assistance from any teachers.”
The DCS virtual learning program, called Schoology, isn’t live instruction led by a teacher. Students simply watch pre-recorded videos. DeSoto County Superintendent Cory Uselton told WMC Action News 5 this model is effective for some families.
“It works well for a lot of parents who work during the day,” he said, “and come home in the evenings to help their child with the assignments, but there are pros and cons to both sides.”
For Kayla Tyson, Schoology offers no positives.
“It makes absolutely no sense,” she said. “I can’t stand it. I hate this system. I hate this program. It is called a virtual instruction program, but it’s just a program. Because I’m not being instructed to do anything at all.”
Yolanda Reeves chose virtual learning to keep her children safe from coronavirus. Now she worries the education provided by DCS leaders could also harm her daughters.
“I need them to know that my children need and deserve more," she said.
The district told parents if they’re not pleased with virtual learning, they could choose to send their children to in-person learning at school after the first nine weeks of the year had passed.