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Falcon Pride Online is option for former ECOT students

February 1, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Austintown Local Schools has received numerous calls regarding enrollment for displaced students. With its own online program, the district has become a good option for students displaced from the closing of ECOT (Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow).

Program Director of 21st Century Learning and 6-12 Instruction, Mariel Sallee, said as long as programs are not filled, the district can continue to accept open enrollment students. He said there are 30 students living in Austintown who were enrolled in ECOT.

"We have been in touch with these students' families since October," Sallee said. "We want them to be aware of the programs we offer."

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Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Mariel Sallee, Program Director of 21st Century Learning and 6-12 Instruction, has been answering a lot of calls regarding the Falcon Pride Online program from parents of former ECOT (Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow) students affected by that on-line school’s closing.

Falcon Pride Online is the district's learn-at-home program. It differs from ECOT in the fact it is a program through Austintown School District, not a stand-alone electronic school like ECOT was.

Sallee said as a program, the students enrolled have a lot of options. They work at home via computer hook up, but can take classes like music or art at Fitch. Some students presently work online and come in for just one class.

The other option is sports and afterschool organizations that students can take part in as well. Sallee said there are football players who are Falcon Pride Online students.

"Falcon Pride Online is a program, not a separate school," Sallee said. "It uses our teachers and tutors."

He said the big plus for Falcon Pride Online is the tutor. Each student has the availability of a tutor to help them get through a course. Those tutors will do break-out lessons with students to help them progress. Tutors in online labs communicate weekly, via phone and/or email, with parents about grades, behavior, and expectations. Students in grades six through twelve also participate in the 1 to 1 Chromebook initiative allowing them to complete assignments easily from home.

"Past kids who were with ECOT and came back to us, gave us feedback that they liked the independent tutors," Sallee said.

Students who go through the online program can transition into the classroom if they want, or can go through graduation with the rest of the graduating class. Sallee said the tutors the kids work with are very dedicated and they show up at graduation just like the teachers.

"Our tutors invest in the kids and make sure the succeed and graduate," Sallee said. "They are proud to see their students graduate."

The tutors do make a difference and they make the Falcon Pride Online program all the more desirable. He said over the past couple of weeks, two parents of ECOT students have already looked over the program and are enrolling their children in Falcon Pride Online.

"This program would provide a smooth transition for students who are accustomed to an online structure," said Superintendent Vincent Colaluca.

Colaluca encourages those seeking additional information to contact Sallee at 330-797-3900 ext.1512.



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