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Big Sky Teachers and Students Learning Online Montana Digital Academy connects Montana schools

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BY EMILY STIFLER
Cassie Kapes, a Spanish teacher at
Ophir School and LPHS, also has
students from Libby, Colstrip, Conrad, Victor and other rural towns
across Montana. Mrs. Kapes is one of
over 60 Montana teachers working
as part of a brand new online teaching program called Montana Digital
Academy (MTDA). Enrollment was
free this year, and MTDA offered
accredited classes ranging from core
subjects to AP and electives.
One of five Spanish teachers in
the program, Mrs. Kapes assigns
lessons every day and a quiz every
couple weeks. Her students also
have writing and speaking quizzes they record directly onto a
computer program. She says for
students who wouldn’t have the
option to take Spanish, it’s a great
opportunity—as long as they are
self motivated and driven.
“I do harp on them if they’re not
getting their work done, but they
can ignore my emails and feel no immediate consequences, because I’m
not physically there.” She adds that
language can be hard to learn online.
MTDA’s website reports Spanish I
and Digital Photography were the
most popular courses in the opening
semester. Physical Education, English, Psychology, Health, French I, Web
Design, Earth Science, Latin I, and
U.S. History round out the top ten.
Big Sky kids are also on board,
with several students enrolled in
virtual classes. Montana Digital Academy allows
students to access coursework
“whenever and wherever they want
and learn at their own pace.” The
program aims to help students meet
college admissions requirements,
make up missed or failed classes, resolve scheduling conflicts, and take
advanced coursework—“allowing
more students to graduate on time.”
montanadigitalacademy.org

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