EPIC Charter Schools announced today its pledge to aid traditional public school districts as they gear up to provide distance learning, including online instruction, to their students for the remainder of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a time when everyone in public education must come together,” said EPIC Superintendent Bart Banfield. “With so many school districts across the state and nation struggling to keep students on track academically during this crisis, we at EPIC are in a unique position, as the state’s largest virtual charter school, to help them. We are not competing. We are not recruiting students. We want to help them in any way we can as they determine the best way to continue serving their students.”
The State Board of Education unanimously voted yesterday that distance learning of all public school students is to begin April 6. When that happens, many students and teachers will likely find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Since the vast majority of EPIC’s 30,000 students work remotely via such tools as ZOOM, Google Hangout and FaceTime, the state’s third-largest public school system is providing traditional school districts the following free tools aimed at helping them navigate distance learning:
- EPIC Ed, a free bank of lessons for every grade level, with at least one lesson for each state academic core standard. The site is live and will be mobile friendly by April 6 so that households without Internet access but with a cellular phone can access the lessons. The site has been made public and can be reached at www.epiced.online.
- Onlineteachinghelp.com, a repository of best practices and online resources created by EPIC teachers with demonstrated success in distance learning.
- Free two-hours of professional development conducted by a state certified Epic educator that could be utilized by any traditional school district. The professional development will be made available as a PowerPoint presentation accompanied by a two-hour, interactive staff development session through ZOOM that includes questions and answers.
Erin Barnes, an EPIC principal co-developing the professional development presentation, said the chance to help her traditional education colleagues during this unprecedented crisis is an opportunity to bridge the divide and bring all public educators together for the common purpose of helping Oklahoma families.
“Schools are the foundation of this state and Oklahoma is stronger when we work together,” Barnes said. “If ever the old saying ‘We are all in this together’ was true, it’s now.”
EPIC is the state’s third-largest public school system. It is serving approximately 30,000 students statewide in the 2019-2020 school year and currently employs more than 1,400 educators and administrators throughout the state.