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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

New SPS School Year to Offer More Choices for Learning

During his State of the Schools speech at Central High School Thursday, Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said the district will roll out LAUNCH, what he calls “Missouri’s solution for course access issues for school districts and families.”

Jungmann said, "driven by a purpose motive, not a profit motive, LAUNCH will provide quality, online learning options designed, developed and delivered by Missouri's educators."

According to Jungmann, by January 2018, 70 high school course options will be available, and by July, there will also be expanded AP course offerings.  So far, he said, 25 districts are part of LAUNCH, which will have 1000 regional seats over the first three semesters.

"Our SPS students will be learning alongside students from Thayer, Ava, Ozark, Hollister, University City and so many others who will now have access to courses that their districts may have struggled to find teachers for, that their students encountered scheduling conflicts with or courses that were unavailable because seated courses were just overcrowded," said Jungmann.

Middle Schools in the district will see new options as well.  Jungmann said they’ll begin offering archery and cross country as well as activity-based after school programs at SPS middle schools in the new school year.  According to Jungmann, middle school students will be surveyed to find out what activities they are most interested in as the district develops the after school programs.

The Extended Learning Program is being expanded from 30 hours to 120 hours.  The after school tutoring program for qualified students in grades two to five offers theme-based classes, called Club Encore, which help improve foundational skills.

The 2017-2018 school year will mark the full implementation of IGNITE, the SPS initiative to put technology in the hands of all students.

SPS Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said it’s important for today’s students to keep up with changes taking place on the job and in higher education.

"Just as the role of the teachers has changed, from being a sage on the stage to one of being a guide on the side, our learners have changed, too," he said.  "Today's learners are digital learners.  Currently 5.8 million college students are entered in an online course.  Employees entering the workforce today will be expected  to learn five to 10 hours each week online."