The Booneville School District administration chose this particular model as a solution to the gaps left by the intransigent teacher shortage. Booneville has an excellent reputation and excellent teachers, and is thus in a unique position to offer course content that is trusted by other educators to be high quality.
The model has expanded greatly since it was first conceived. Originally, the district offered only three or four classes, all of which were AP. However, as administrators saw the persistence of the teacher shortage, they decided to expand Booneville High's offerings.
Booneville administrators have had to be very careful about student privacy because of their unique model. Expanding school bandwidth has also been an issue, and has been a roadblock to doing synchronous livestreams of courses.
Schools should understand that transitioning gets better with time. Be persistent, and stick to your goals.
Also, make sure that you are laying enough infrastructure and doing enough planning to make sure that your idea will work. You can’t just decide that you want to start a blended learning program the next year. For Booneville, it took several years of planning in order to make a successful transition. During this time, they had to make literal infrastructure improvements, such as increasing the bandwidth of the school internet, but they also did competency work to made sure that teachers were comfortable with the technology and using the technology to supplement their teaching rather than replace it.
Booneville is a leader in creating options for future teacher shortage through virtual education.
Booneville also leads the way in listening to students and willingness to try new things. Superintendent Todd English says, "We don’t know what 2020 will bring for students, or 2021. We have to do it see students' needs from the eyes of the student, not the eyes of the adult, and listen carefully to what they need."
Lastly, Booneville demonstrates leadership in its willingness to share resources. Its motto, “Together we’re better” stands for student community and collaboration, but the school district also takes it seriously as a mission for themselves. With this in mind, they hope to continue offering services outside of their district, and to expand even further into the Southeast region of the US.
Booneville High School is a typical high school in many ways. Students operate on a block schedule, mostly within the four walls of a school, and teachers guide students in content mastery. However, Booneville High has also created an innovative solution to the teacher shortage problem in rural Mississippi. At Booneville High, 80% of courses are also available online. Teachers record classes on a recording device, and they become available to students who may not have access to the content otherwise. Students might be from other districts, homeschoolers, or independent school students.
Contact: Todd English
Contact Title: Superintendent
Booneville High School
201 North First Street
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