School from home: Noblesville students enroll in Edmuntum learning program


Photo by Chloe Hurst

Junior Chloe Hurst takes a picture by her at home workspace. She describes the online schedule as “self paced”.

Ian Pigors and Kendall Reynolds


Just over seven months ago, back in March, life at NHS was functioning normally. Students, parents, and school staff gathered on a cool Friday night in the Mill to watch the Millers take on the rival Carmel Greyhounds in the sectional. COVID-19 was making its way into the United States, but nobody could’ve predicted the effect the virus has had and what was in store the next couple of months. Full days at home all week, no teachers, no class times. For many students at NHS, this is what COVID-19 era education looks like. 

For varying circumstances, upwards of 400 students at NHS opted to go with the fully online Edmuntum program for their curriculum this school year. The curriculum itself is completely different from what the rest of the NHS student population is doing with the hybrid schedule.

The perceived difference between being at home all the time as opposed to at school varies by student. Senior Bella Sharples-Gordon says the main difference has to do with grading and pace.

“For online, I don’t have a teacher. I learn everything from slideshows and just answer questions about them. [Similar to] E-Learning , my school work is self paced so I can work ahead if I want,” Sharples-Gordon said. “The only deadline I have is to finish my work by the end of the semester. Most of my lessons are mastery, so I can retake them if I don’t get above an 80%.”

“Self pacing” is a common theme among students enrolled in the Edmuntum program. For junior Chloe Hurst, the loose daily scheduling works out perfectly.

“I have more time to do what I want now and I have time to do schoolwork. I set time to do my [schoolwork] but I also have time to go to work and make money. I didn’t get that when quarantine first started,” Hurst said.

Hurst’s decision to go fully online wasn’t without reason, and her situation is likely shared by many households and students around the nation.

“My grandpa died from [COVID-19] in April. Just being in a big group setting just made me feel uneasy, so I talked to my parents,” Hurst said. “I was in class and someone took off their mask to cough so I was like ‘Hey, mom, dad, I don’t wanna do this. I feel uneasy.’ So we talked about it and we talked to the school. So now here I am.”

The dangers of having a bunch of kids and staff members in the building is a slippery slope that administrators have to deal with. Noblesville Edmentum coordinator Heather Young came to Noblesville seeking a new challenge after moving to the area three years ago. With 20+ years of experience as a dean, assistant principal, and principal at every level, Young is qualified to take charge of the online program. But the unprecedented situation surrounding COVID-19 didn’t exactly lead to an initial period absent of challenge for Young and the program.

“One of the biggest challenges is that we ended up getting everything set up for the program three days before school started. So we’ve kinda been building the plane as we fly,” said Young.

This included many adjustments having to be made to the curriculum as a whole in order to still give students the opportunity to earn the credits they need to graduate

“We’ve had to do a lot in terms of removing and adjusting certain things (from the normal curriculum) like group work, discussions, (etc.) that aren’t really possible for the online kids because their learning is independent, ” Young said.

And when speaking about honors and AP classes, Young explained that the non-inclusion of these classes was something students who decided to take on the edmuntum program had to come to terms with.

“We don’t offer those (AP and Honors classes), so students and parents had to make the tough decision to not take those courses if they wanted to enroll in Edmuntum, ” Young said.

Despite the many challenges and hurdles Covid-19 has presented for the NHS community and communities around the nation so far, Young has a reassuring message for students and parents.

“We understand that this is a difficult time but you have all of our support as we walk this journey together.”