Learning Didn’t Stop with the Predicted Ice Storm as Forsyth County Schools Use itslearning LMS to Turn Inclement Weather Days into Virtual Learning Days

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Forsyth County Schools is in its fourth year of using the itslearning platform to offer a range of online classes and assignments on snow/ice days.

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Knowing we can engage students via itslearning allows the decision to cancel the traditional school day with less angst.

Snow days no longer mean sleeping in and binge watching TV shows. Now, when the weather outside is frightful, learning goes online with Forsyth County Schools’ teachers and students turning to the itslearning learning management system. During the recent storm north of Atlanta, Forsyth County Schools was able to provide instruction via itslearning so effectively that the virtual learning was counted the same as regular classes, meaning the district won’t have to make up for lost school time.

Recovering time lost due to inclement winter weather has long been an administrative headache for district and school leaders who often have to resort to unpopular tactics such as eliminating spring break, reducing recess time, adding extra time to remaining school days, tacking on extra days at the end of the school year or holding school on Saturdays. And when a large amount of snow days accumulate, districts may have the even bigger headache of asking the state for a waiver that reduces the number of lost days their schools need to offset.

“We’re seeing a trend of districts, both our partners and others, solving the problem of canceled school time by instituting virtual learning days,” said Arne Bergby, CEO of itslearning. Among the states allowing the replacement of snow days with virtual learning days are Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Forsyth County Schools is in its fourth year of using the itslearning platform to offer a range of online classes and assignments on snow days. Many of its teachers use the platform throughout the year; so expanding the virtual learning to include snow days was a natural progression.

“Knowing we can engage students via itslearning allows the decision to cancel the traditional school day with less angst,” said Jason Naile, Director of Instructional Technology and Media at Forsyth County Schools. Our schools have used itslearning to continue learning and instruction when we are unable to safely hold school due to inclement weather. Our Online Learning Plan for School Closures uses itslearning to engage students, distribute assignments, and facilitate communication between teachers, students and parents when weather prohibits face-to-face interaction.”

For students without Internet access, mobile devices or power when bad weather hits, Forsyth County Schools gives them five days to make up the work once the lesson is posted online. The system also provides some Wi-Fi hotspots to provide connectivity at home and allows students to borrow devices to take home.

Designed specifically for the K-12 market, itslearning helps improve education in and out of the classroom. The intuitive LMS features effectively connect teachers, parents, and students and continue to evolve to meet the 21st century learning initiatives of school districts. Key areas of recent focus include:

  • Unique integrations to content providers like Infinite Campus, Knovation and cloud apps like G-suite and Microsoft Office
  • Streamlined workflows for common daily tasks such as creating assignments and assessments, providing feedback to students, and grading
  • Rich messaging and fully mobile apps

“Virtual learning days are the snow days of the future,” said Bergby. “And for students, it’s a chance to hone time-management skills and engage in self-driven learning, two qualities that will serve them well in college and beyond.”

About itslearning
We build the world's most connected learning platform for education. Our solution saves time for teachers. One login connects them to all the content and tools they need to speed common tasks like creating and grading assignments. It improves outcomes for students because it links teaching activities to learning goals. And, it increases engagement of everyone because it connects parents, teachers, and students with each other. Born in 1999, we help over 7 million people worldwide. We dwell in Boston, MA and Bergen, Norway, but we live at the heart of education. Visit us at https://itslearning.com
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Charlotte Andrist
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