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Gainesville tuition-free high school uses technology to find success during pandemic

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Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 8:09 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Schools across the world are adapting every day to keep students’ attention as the pandemic continues

Principal of SIAtech Gainesville Charter High School, Dr. William “Randy” Scott, said his team is ahead of the game.

“We keep it simple … most students especially in large classrooms are not engaged, not connected. Sometimes the teacher doesn’t know their names … we know all their names and their situations. They feel like they have some identity.”

Principal Scott has spent years in the Florida school system, at all levels, and he said SIAtech is like no other. He said when a student enrolls at his school, the impact is life changing.

“These kids who don’t succeed and get a high school diploma ... the stats show they will get involved in other things less responsible ... and so now you can bring those kids back and they have the opportunity to get a high school diploma.”

The school is a tuition-free high school diploma program where each student gets their own personalized learning plans for success.

“All of our curriculum is online … and the neat thing about our curriculum is that the teacher is more of a facilitator and helper rather than a stand-and-deliver type model.”

Technology is a key part of the program. While students in other schools have lately been relying more on technology for home-learning during the pandemic, it’s a format that students here are accustomed to. Still, Principal Scott emphasized the importance of in-person learning.

“One of the things we are learning through the pandemic, is that we are better together … so it’s a combination, more of a blended model.”

Students are required to spend at least 5 hours a day of learning, whether that is at home or in the classroom.

Principle Scott says they use technology in several additional ways, including allowing parents to have access to surveillance, so they can see how their children are doing in the classroom. Features like this, he believes put SIAtech ahead of the game.

“I really believe that schools like this will be kind of a model for education in the future.”

For more information SIAtech’s programs, click HERE.

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