Brewer School department seeks to expand remote learning program

Department instructors introduced the “Nude Curriculum” at the beginning of last school year. An additional grant will enable them to expand it next year.

BREWER, Maine — Last fall, the Brewer School department launched a new program to allow students who preferred remote learning to continue to do so. With additional grants the department received this week, the department will now be able to expand the program into the next school year.

Organizers said the funds will be used to hire another teacher for the distance learning program as well as to expand it. Last year, the program was offered to students in grades seven through 12. It will be offered to all college students from the fall.

Savanah Brooks, a 2022 graduate of Brewer High School, said she was grateful to have had this program available to her.

“I personally had a rough start to the year, socially, just with people in general, I was very anxious about coming in,” Brooks said.

Brooks said school had always been difficult for her as someone who often got bullied, and when the school year started last fall, she left school crying almost every day.

“I always thought it was something, oh I’ll deal with it and graduate and be done, but then the pandemic hit and I was introduced to distance learning and I honestly loved it,” she added.

Renita Ward-Downer, director of instruction and technology at the Brewer School Dept., said she believes the “Nude curriculum” will meet the needs of students who feel more comfortable learning at distance in their free time.

Nu program specialist Christopher Moreau said about 20 students chose to participate in the program this year. Each student learned the lessons on their own through an online platform.

“As an instructor, I put deadlines on their work, but they can pace themselves and get to their training where they are when they are there,” Moreau said.

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Moreau said he had regular check-ins with each student, and most of them opted to take a hybrid combination of in-person and online classes.

“Our students really, really enjoyed that freedom. They had a personal connection to me, I checked in with them daily and worked with them privately once a week, so there was always that connection,” said said Moreau. .

Brooks said she chose the blended learning model as a compromise with her parents to get them to accept her decision.

“I’m glad I chose to stay in those classes, I think if I hadn’t I would have regretted it,” she said.

Brooks recommends any student interested in online learning to join at least one extracurricular club or team to stay socially involved.

Ward-Downer said they are also working to develop other ways to keep students socially engaged at a distance over the coming year.

“I think that’s the way of the future, I really think students will want a more personalized journey to their learning,” Ward-Downer said.

Ward-Downer added that they are also working to help school departments in surrounding cities this summer develop programs like the Nu program for students in those communities as well.

Norma A. Roth