Superintendent clears up Expo myths - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Superintendent clears up Expo myths

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Superintendent Dr. Gary Norris says he knew from the beginning that switching up the status-quo at Expo High School would create some controversy. Community members have come forward with concerns, some of them based on myths and rumors, and not on facts. Norris says he probably should have worked to clear up the myths before they spread.

KWWL sat down with Dr. Norris to do just that: compare the myths with the facts.

Norris says the program will look a lot like the "Performance-Based Diploma Academy" classrooms at East and West High Schools. But there will be many differences to accommodate the needs of Expo students.

Myth #1: Only eight of the current 20 educators are moving to the new building.

"That's clearly not the case, we're going to have 16," Norris said.

Myth #2: The 16 teachers and counselor will have more kids to look after.

Norris says classroom sizes are staying the same.

"It will feel like a very personalized learning environment, just like it does right now," he said.

Myth #3: A computer can't give you the same quality education as a traditional teacher.

"I not only beg to differ with them, I know differently. Kids today thrive using technology," Norris said.

Myth #4: Kids will be online, all the time.

Not true, says Norris. Teachers are always around for one-on-one learning, and teens will spend about half of the day doing labs, worksheets, or on-the-job training.

Myth #5: Expo students will be required to attend school all day.

This one is true, sort of. Currently, many students have arrangements to attend "half-days" at Expo High School.

"We don't think, in general, half-day education will meet the needs of the 21st century," Norris explained.

But, Norris realizes the kids at Expo are there for a reason. So they're ready to amend this rule, as necessary, for each situation.

"We'll look at every case as an individual exception," he said.

Myth #6: Young parents will have no options for daycare.

The district is closing its childcare program "Roots and Wings." Norris said, with budget cuts, he didn't feel it was fair for taxpayers to subsidize the costly service. But the district is working with private providers, all of which already deal with teens who use state and federal funding to help pay for childcare.

"Individual" is a key word for the superintendent. Norris says the computer-based program does not fit every student's learning style, and he said the teachers will adapt to each teen's particular needs.

To view the superintendent's full "Myth vs. Fact" presentation, click here.

Online Reporter: Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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