Virtual academy leader advises Wisconsin school districts on hybrid learning amid COVID-19

Fadia Afaneh

MILWAUKEE -- As parents, teachers and students look to possibly adjust to hybrid learning in the fall, FOX6 spoke to the head of a school that has experience with both in-person and virtual education, and got some insight into the resources needed to help make it work.

"We have been getting a significant increase number of calls just really wondering about our model," said Fadia Afaneh.

As head of the Wisconsin Virtual Academy, Destinations Career Academy and Insight School of Wisconsin, Afaneh is no stranger to making this learning strategy work.

"We still have a counseling department," said Afaneh. "We have a school success team that is really devoted to helping families be successful. Before the year starts, we are making sure families feel prepared for the year."

Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak hit, she has been meeting with different school districts, giving them guidance on how to transition.

"We want to be here for schools," said Afaneh. "We want schools to know, 'Hey, we've got your back if you need support.' We are all educators, and we are all in this together," Afaneh said.

Afaneh shared some examples of how they keep educators and students working together successfully.

"There is a learning coach group that meets on Facebook, so there is some various support groups specifically for our learning coaches," she said. "We devote, one of our positions strictly is a family resources coordinator. We make sure phone calls are a norm for us -- any additional sessions, FaceTimes a child needs -- we are accommodating."

When the day comes for students to learn at home, Afaneh suggested there be a space solely dedicated for learning -- and that you maintain a schedule, build in breaks and adjust expectations based on age.