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Some private schools e-mail lessons
[February 05, 2011]

Some private schools e-mail lessons

Feb 04, 2011 (Tulsa World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Just because campuses are closed doesn't mean school is really out for some Tulsa students.

Several area private schools send homework and lessons electronically for students to work on while they're snowed in.

Riverfield Country Day School calls them "cyber days" instead of "snow days." It's a program that's been in place since the 2007 ice storm, said Jerry Bates, Riverfield's assistant head of institutional advancement.

On cyber days, teachers send out assignments via e-mail to students by 10 a.m. each day.

"You don't lose the instruction time. Students are still learning and thinking," Bates said. "It keeps everything moving forward. We'd much rather them do this and have everyone working a little bit while you're stuck anyway than make it up or break into summer." Some students don't even mind the work.

"I like them. They don't take away days in our summer. I like my summer," said seventh-grader Ragan Auxter. "It's not that bad. Just sit down and do the work and focus." Madeline Berry, a senior at Riverfield, said although there are more distractions at home, it's worth doing some school work at home so that summer break isn't shortened.

"When you're in the classroom there's not much noise. Here you have to have the discipline to the do the work," Berry said. "Students who don't do the work, their GPAs are kind of shot, but it's their own fault." Auxter said she spends about three hours doing school work on cyber days, still enough time to enjoy the snowy weather.

"There's nothing really better to do. I'm not really a huge video game person," she said.

Her homework assignments haven't been difficult and have included watching videos online for science class, reading news articles or watching news clips and writing a report for social studies, she said.

And if there are questions, teachers also available via e-mail, Bates said.

"There's still a learning curve. ... It's something we can continue to refine," he said, but eventually he thinks more schools will do something like cyber days when the weather turns bad. "Technology has made a big difference in being able to do something like this." Other private schools are doing something similar.

At Bishop Kelley, some teachers are sending their students assignments via e-mail.

Metro Christian Academy is also utilizing e-mail to garner instruction time even while the campus is closed.

Headmaster Tim Cameron said students were told on Monday to take textbooks and notebooks home because they would get homework and lessons from the school's internal e-mail system.

"To lose six or seven instruction days so far ... you've got to make that up somewhere," Cameron said.

Most college students don't have any sympathy for the students.

Calvin Thomas, a University of Oklahoma nursing junior, spent his third snow day working on a psychology paper.

"My professor told us on Monday that she didn't care how bad the weather was outside, she wanted us to turn in the papers online and on time," Thomas said. OU closed again Friday.

Sara Plummer 581-8465 [email protected] To see more of the Tulsa World, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2011, Tulsa World, Okla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit

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