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Families turn to digital school amid pandemic

And that means a big enrollment increase
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Posted at 5:42 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 09:18:54-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Digital Learning School is a fully-accredited public school, serving kindergarten through 12th grade students from 92 Indiana counties.

This year, an additional 2,000 students enrolled, including 2nd grader Mackenzie Dahill of Highland, Indiana. “The main reason was because of COVID-19,” said AnnMarie Dahill, Mackenzie’s mom.

Dahill said her daughter was uncomfortable wearing a mask all day, sometimes even developing a rash on her face. Mackenzie also struggled with e-learning that was offered by her school district at the end of the last school year in March and April.

Those are the reasons Dahill started looking into other options. At first, she considered fully homeschooling her daughter, but ultimately deciding against that because she wanted Mackenzie to have the structure of regular school.

Over the summer she discovered the Indiana Digital Learning School. "We function just like a brick and mortar school system. Our students have a full schedule Monday through Friday and they attend a minimum of five classes a day,” said Amber Lewis, career learning instructor at Indiana Digital Learning School.

Teachers with IDLS adhere to state standards when creating their curriculum and lessons for students.

COVID-19 increased enrollment within the fully remote school from 4,000 to 6,000. "We had families wanting to just be proactive and just switched to a full-time virtual program because they felt maybe there was more consistency with that because of the unknown ahead,” said Lewis.

Dahill said that consistency has been key this year for her daughter’s education. "I like it more because I learn more than what I did,” said Mackenzie.

The school also provided all the supplies needed to ensure Mackenzie was ready to learn remotely at no cost. "HP laptop, printer, all her books. They sent us math cubes for learning hundreds and thousands, they sent us a science kit,” said Dahill.

Meanwhile, the district Mackenzie would have been attending in Highland, has gone back and forth between e-learning and in person education.

Dahill says she talked to some parents who say their students are doing OK with the changes. But Dahill knows this was the right choice for her kid.

To learn more about Indiana Digital Learning School click here.