Local school’s online program that suffered from mismanagement last year faces trouble again

Channel 2 Action News learned that a DeKalb Schools online program that had serious mismanagement issues at the start of last school year got off to a bad start.

Investigative journalist Richard Belcher discovered that a good example of the persistent problems with what DeKalb calls FLEX Academy is the website.

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When you click on course offerings, which students take on the first day of a semester, the site tells you “Under construction”. This is concerning after the start of last school year with serious technical problems, including weeks of delays in completing the first semester and produced grades that were around a third of an F.

“My big question is: why was it so last minute?” said DeKalb’s parent, Lindsay Mast.

She needs limited access to FLEX for a child who is homeschooled and must have at least a DeKalb class to participate in athletics.

On finding course information, Mast told Channel 2: “I was given a few options. I don’t know when they would meet. I don’t know what they would entail, and I’m not entirely sure what would be required of my child at this point.

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It’s a reminder of the chaos that plagued FLEX last August.

In January, Channel 2 obtained video of a FLEX staff meeting after the Christmas holidays, when administrators were still delaying the closing of the first half due to continuing problems.

A senior administrator told teachers and staff, “We missed the first semester, so we are catching up. »

FLEX parents also just learned that full-time students would have to attend in person one day a week at Andrews High School in Stone Mountain. It may not affect Lindsay Mast’s child, but she says it’s clearly confusing.

“The first indication I got that my child needed to be somewhere in person, I got the day before from DeKalb County Schools,” Mast said. I didn’t even know what that meant. I’m not zoned for this high school. I hadn’t heard of it.

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In an email, the school district’s director of studies doesn’t take issue with criticism of the website not working or criticism of late notices to parents. But she says information has been given to principals and counselors and parents should ask them. The statement also calls FLEX “an alternative program with limited staff to supplement school course offerings.” This reduction in enrollment means that FLEX is restricted to students in grades ten through twelfth this year.

Mast says a friend was planning on enrolling in her ninth grade. “So she’s very attached to her ninth grader to know what this kid is going to do,” she told Belcher.

Mast says if she were an educator she would definitely get DeKalb’s grade for poor preparation and she really doesn’t like the uncertainty for her daughter. “Why are we waiting for the week when classes start? It certainly stressed me out as a parent, but I’m an adult. My children are not here yet,” she told us.

Regarding the in-person day required for full-time FLEX students, the district says these weekly check-ins will be virtual to begin the semester, while the district reviews transportation needs.

Lindsay Mast is married to a WSB-TV employee.

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Karen O. Fielding