ECOT families learn about alterative options after school closes

ECOT families learn about alterative options after school closes

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Parents and students left scrambling.

Ohio's largest online school, Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, shut down last week right in the middle of the school year.

"I was really devastated I was like, really in the middle of the school year," said Devon Rodriguez, a senior who attended ECOT for two years. "How are you going to do this to 12,000 students and teachers and also all the families. It's just unbelievable."

But it's not the end for them all. Toledo Public Schools is working to get the 288 students who live within their district back into the classroom soon.

For some ECOT students it's back to class this Monday.

"I'm a little bit nervous about it," said Sierra Russell, a freshman transferring from ECOT to Woodward High School. "I mean, I know some people from Woodward, but I don't know a lot and I don't know how my classes are going to be."

Parents and students of Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow were shocked by the closing and say the transition has been stressful.

"I went to ECOT because it was a better learning environment," said Rodriguez. "High school nowadays is just not a place to be really, especially for somebody like me, I'm a bit different and unique. I went to ECOT just to get away from that hectic environment and just be in my own learning environment and learn on my own pace."

"There's a lot of stress," said Sheila Russell, mother of a freshman who attended ECOT. "I mean because you're trying to figure out where you want to put her, what's going to be the best interest for her, but here we are we got to do this now."

Toledo Public Schools wanted to help. ECOT families could learn more about TPS, homeschooling and Phoenix Academy. Parents and students could even enroll students if they felt it was the right fit for their future.

"We don't want to see students not graduate and I think that we can help them not only in the district, but looking at some of the other options that we have to ensure that they continue down their path to graduation," said Jim Gault, TPS executive transformational leader of curriculum.

To begin the night Thursday, Devon didn't know where he would finish his senior year, but quickly he was enrolled at Bowsher High School and needs just three credits to get his diploma.

"I'm just ready to just get through my education and walk that stage in June," said Rodriguez.

Jim Gault said they seek to not only help the displaced students, but also teachers from ECOT looking for work.  He encourages both teachers and students to learn more about what they can offer in this trying time here.

Toledo's second semester began January 9th, so the students joining classes from ECOT will be behind. Leaders said they will work with students to get them back up to speed.

"Every day is a day lost so let's get into school ASAP," explained Gault. "We'll make arrangements in that our staff will care in terms of they will work with you to ensure that the times missed that you have the opportunity to make that up. We don't want to see students harmed in this transition."

For ECOT families who are interested in learning more about what TPS, Phoenix Academy, and homeschooling have to offer they will be another informational meeting on Monday, the 29th at Waite High School beginning at 5:30 p.m.

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