Online programs to be offered in Port Townsend, Chimacum

Digital course work includes electives, languages, honors

Sarah Rubenstein is the administrator of the Port Townsend School District’s new online program for first- through 12th-graders.

Sarah Rubenstein is the administrator of the Port Townsend School District’s new online program for first- through 12th-graders.

PORT TOWNSEND — As Port Townsend School District students prepare to start the new academic year Sept. 7, they have a new option: the online Edgenuity program for first- through 12th-graders.

The district is offering this because “some families have realized online learning is a good option for them,” said Sarah Rubenstein, the administrator of the pilot program.

The Edgenuity courseware, a traditional remote-learning platform, offers core subjects — math, language arts, science, social studies — plus electives, world languages and honors classes.

Students will have weekly contact with a teacher by phone, email or in person, as well as monthly progress reviews and access to teachers’ daily office hours for virtual or in-person support. Youngsters in the online program will also be able to participate in district athletics.

Applications and information can be found at ptschools.org, while Rubenstein can be reached at 360-385-6661 or [email protected] A five-minute video on the website gives an overview of the online program, and two 45-minute online information sessions are scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 18 and 2 p.m. Aug. 23.

The Chimacum School District, which will also start in-person school Sept. 7, will provide an online option through the Pi Program, its alternative-learning offering. For information, contact principal Jason Lynch at [email protected] or phone the district office at 360-302-5890.

Quilcene School does not have an online program yet, principal Sean Moss said, although his schools will explore a partnership with another Jefferson County district to offer that option in the future. Quilcene will reopen its campus for in-person school on Aug. 30; a welcome-back letter is posted at qsd48.org.

“There were a handful of students who really thrived being online. It provides more flexibility. They can work at their own pace,” said Linda Rosenbury, the Port Townsend School District superintendent who stepped into her position July 1.

“It’s important to provide this option,” she added, for students and parents who aren’t ready for in-person learning.

The school district will provide Chromebook laptop computers for online learners who want them, as well as technical support, Rubenstein noted. Wifi hotspots are available at no cost for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, “families have had a really wide range of experiences,” Rosenbury said.

The Port Townsend School District also offers OCEAN: the independent-study school whose acronym stands for Opportunity, Community, Experience, Academics, Navigation. A school of its own, OCEAN is for kindergartners through high-schoolers, and it blends work in the community with studies alongside teachers based at the Blue Heron Middle School campus.

“OCEAN is a really good fit for families who want some independence,” said Rubenstein, the school’s principal.

“Sometimes five days a week in the classroom is too much,” Rosenbury added.

While the online Edgenuity program and OCEAN are both alternative learning environments offered to Port Townsend students, they are distinct and different, she said.

“I encourage families to explore and find the one that’s best for the way their children learn,” Rosenbury said.

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

Linda Rosenbury is the new Port Townsend School District superintendent.

Linda Rosenbury is the new Port Townsend School District superintendent.

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