Digital Learning Day reflection: K-12 educator learns to appreciate online education

Multiethnic female high school student working on a laptop computer

For the past year, I have had the privilege of serving as principal of Troy Intersect Virtual Academy in Troy, Michigan. Previously, I was not impressed with K-12 online education. However, working with the students and educators of Intersect and the staff at Pearson Online & Blended Learning has changed my perception about virtual learning.

I discovered that not all online education programs are alike. With Troy School District’s high academic standards, I now understand why it selected Pearson’s Online & Blended Learning program for our online students. The curriculum is rigorous and equal to the academic expectations of our district. Students are well supported by certified online teachers and tutors, and they have access to a full-time district counselor, classroom teacher, classroom paraprofessional and principal.

Troy Intersect Virtual Academy supports students who have had to step out of the traditional classroom setting due to serious illness, students who need support for previously low academic performance, and learners who need flexibility to participate in sports, performing arts, or to work as young parents. When students no longer need the flexibility of our program they can return to the traditional classroom or remain in the virtual program. Either way, they graduate from Intersect with a district diploma.

I had the pleasure of presenting to other educators at the 2016 National Dropout Prevention Conference about the success my non-traditional learners have achieved through our digital learning program. Now as we celebrate Digital Learning Day, I reflect on how most of my personal and professional friends are amazed at my attitude change about K-12 online learning. My involvement with Pearson Online & Blended Learning’s well-developed program has helped me understand that one education model does not meet the needs of all students.


About the Author
Deb MacDonald Linford

Deb MacDonald Linford

Deb MacDonald Linford is a graduate of Wayne State University with a master’s of educational leadership and has been an administrator in non-traditional education for more than 30 years. She serves as principal of a traditional high school that provides college dual enrollment opportunities, and for the past year, has also led Troy Intersect Virtual Academy as principal. Both schools are provided by Troy School District in Troy, MI.