Morenci looks at online classes 2014.06.04

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci school administrators are favoring Plato Coursewear from Edmentum to provide on-line learning opportunities. Comparisons will be made with one other company before school board members are asked to approve a contract with Edmentum.

"We have the E-2020 program here at the high school and it's not doing what it should," said Morenci superintendent Mike McAran. "It's not rigorous enough."

Plato offers a large variety of courses, many of which are sequenced to state requirements, he said, and some are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. The courses can be used in a "blended" situation to supplement the existing classroom experience or they can be used without a teacher in the classroom. Assistance is offered 24 hours a day.

The 47 core courses start with the sixth grade level and move upward to the Advanced Placement (AP) level. A variety of courses can help with college preparation (ACT readiness) and others can help prepare for job entry exams. GED courses are also available.

"We have students taking classes through Sand Creek, Clinton and Hudson," McAran said, "because we aren't offering them."

Plato would also be a key in re-establishing an alternative education program. McAran said there are dozens of individuals in the area who are 18 years old and younger who have not yet earned a high school diploma.

Plato also offers a variety of electives such as digital photography, forensic science, gothic literature and personal finance. Several career prep courses are also available such as accounting, computer science, medical terminology and marketing.

A one-year license allowing the use of Plato for up to 500 students costs $7,500. This would probably allow adults from the community to take courses, also, McAran said.

The courses for GED, ACT and job readiness cost an additional $4,500 and the Career Technical Education package costs $6,000.

“We let adult ed leave the district,” McAran said. “My goal is to bring adult ed back to the district.”

If someone 18 and younger needs two or three classes to graduate, the work could be completed through on-line education and the school district will receive funding.

“You’ve got to get students back into school who aren’t here and you’ve got to find for them a reason to get here and you’ve got  to help them be successful.”

If students choose to complete the classes entirely on-line, the work can be done anytime of the day, with on-line assistance available.

When students take on-line classes through other school districts, Morenci loses state aid funding.

“We’re foolish to let it keep going that way,” McAran said.

He intends to hire a special education teacher to oversee the virtual program so students with special needs can also be involved in the program.

HIRE—Rob Price was hired to serve as a bus driver.

SUCCESS—Two members of the middle school success class accompanied Success Coach Christine Grondin to tell about a trip they took to the Market House grocery in Hudson.

Nikkie Callebs and Grant Fernholtz told what jobs are available at the store and about work habits needed to succeed at the job.

Ms. Grondin talked about how positive work habits are established in school. A key part of her job is to show students strategies to become more successful in what they do.

BAND—Chloe Molitierno and Spencer Elliott responded to an invitation to speak at a school board meeting about the success of the high school band in qualifying for the state festival.

With so many days off from school due to weather cancelations, Molitierno said, students knew they were falling behind in preparation. The students voted to come in for voluntary additional practice sessions and attendance was nearly 100 percent.

“It was more than hard work that got us to state,” she said.

New leadership made the difference, she said. 

“Mr. Garr has instilled a new attitude, an attitude of success,” she said. “He showed us we can accomplish great things. I think a lot of our success can be attributed to Mr. Garr and the attitude that he brought with him. We didn’t realize how good we were until he showed us.”

The music program seems to come second behind sports and academics, Molitierno said.

“I’m here to give you a unique perspective of the program,” she said. “I am not only a band nerd, but I am also a three-sport athlete and devoted to my school work.”

Elliott said that Mr. Garr pushes for what we need and gets things done. 

Band is a team effort, he said, with a team that starts in sixth grade and goes all the way through high school.

“You can tell when you come to the concerts,” said board member Ivy Hutchison. “You guys are a lot more passionate.”

• The band will perform an evening concert at Wakefield Park on June 10.