Fayette to use on-line courses for credit make-up 2013.02.06

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette High School is venturing into on-line course work for students in need of making up class credit, but it’s expected to be just the beginning of additional “virtual classroom” work in the future.

Board of Education members approved last month a contract with A+ Curriculum, a company providing a variety of on-line classes.

By participating in a consortium with other schools, said superintendent Erik Belcher, a lower price was obtained. Each license costs $500 and allows one student at a time to sign in for a class.

“We have some kids who are in need of credit recovery,” he said, “and there are some kids who are missing a class because they’re at home due to medical reasons.”

A+ Curriculum classes will allow them to make up credits and keep pace with their classmates.

That will meet the district’s immediate needs, Belcher said, but he would like to expand the options.

“I think this is a stepping stone to where we’re going in the future,” he said. “Next year we’re going to expand it even more.”

One expansion of the program would lead to additional courses that aren’t typically available in a small school. A class in calculus, for example, could be offered if one or two students are interested.

Belcher said there are about 50 children in the Fayette district who are already enrolled in a virtual school  at home or in home-school with a parent.

He’s hoping to create a “blended learning” environment that would attract some of those  students not enrolled in classes at the school. By offering a blend of on-line courses with the classes already at Fayette—experiences not available to those at home—some students might choose to enroll.

Looking down the road, Belcher also wants to explore options for students to earn college credit while attending high school.

“My goal would be for students to have a year of college completed by the time they graduate,” he said.

“Nothing beats human interaction,” Belcher said, “but we might change how we do it.”

For example, someone would serve as a “lab person” to oversee and assist students who are studying on-line. That might sound like an odd approach for high school, he said, but students will encounter many classes presented that way in college.

Belcher expects to discuss options with staff members in the next few months to see if something could be put in place for the next school year.

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