A new memorandum of understanding between Glendale Unified and its teachers union marks the first agreement by both parties outlining how the district will handle its online classes.
Glendale Unified currently offers online courses in government and economics to high school students at Hoover and Crescenta Valley high schools, with the number of classes available each year depending on student interest, said Lynn Marso, assistant superintendent of Glendale Unified.
“We certainly hope that, in the future, as we move forward with 21st-century learning skills... that the interest and the number of courses at our high schools would expand,” she said.
The agreement, approved by the school board late last month, guarantees that no Glendale Unified teacher will be involuntarily directed to teach an online class.
The new agreement also keeps online classes for elementary students limited to one grade level, though it doesn’t specify what grade. Currently, there are no elementary online classes.
Educators are also adamant about offering high-quality instruction, even though students will be learning through a virtual experience.
“We want to make sure the students are getting the education they need to be getting,” said Phyllis Miller, president of the Glendale Teachers Assn.
Both parties agree that training will be offered to all Glendale educators each year, should they volunteer to instruct online classes.
The document also hints at the future, stating that district and union officials will come back to the table to negotiate further if Glendale Unified chooses to open a “virtual school,” something district officials have no firm plans to start just yet.
For Miller, the agreement is a proactive step in the right direction.
“We know that more and more districts throughout the country have virtual schools,” she said. “We’re seeing what the future could look like and we want to be ahead of the game.”
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.