Garfield School District Re-2 finishes first year of virtual high school
RIFLE, Colorado – David Smucker says that the Kaplan Academy of Colorado virtual high school program isn’t the future of education, but it’s a starting point.”It’s certainly a glimpse at the future of education,” said Smucker, Garfield School District Re-2 assistant superintendent. “I think parents and students, unless we can continue to provide students with engaging work that is focused on their specific career choice, will look for other options and choices that are available.”That is where Re-2 is ahead of the curve, so to speak, as last year it was the first and only school district in the state to offer online virtual courses through Kaplan Academy of Colorado. The program has recently been approved by the Colorado Department of Education to open its online public high school to students statewide starting this fall. However, Smucker said, while the courses are open to all qualified Colorado students, the program isn’t presented to students enrolled in other school districts. Classes will be offered to students of nontraditional schooling like home-schooled students looking for alternative programs.”It’s kind of an exciting alternative for the way the students can learn,” Smucker said.The virtual program offered online courses to students within the Re-2 district for the 2007-08 school year, through Kaplan Inc., a global education provider offering high school students flexibility and advanced educational learning opportunities online.But just because it’s online doesn’t mean that it’s a breeze, by any means.”It’s really just an alternative way of learning,” Smucker said. “It’s not an alternative for the students that are struggling academically. Students have to make a real commitment to the program.”The program was based out of the old Colorado Mountain College building in Rifle at the Re-2 Center for Integrative Studies. According to Smucker, the district had about 28 students take classes through the program last year with great success.”Garrick (Frontella, program coordinator) has done a great job over there,” Smucker said.Classes are accessible on any computer with the Internet, and students can work at their own pace and receive grades in as little as 24 hours from state-certified instructors. Courses offer audio, video and other engaging elements to cater to different skill levels, facilitate learning and keep students engaged. Certified teachers demonstrate course work and are available to answer student questions via instant message, telephone and/or e-mail.Kaplan students can select from approximately 80 core, honors and advanced placement courses. Students will receive a Garfield Re-2 diploma at the time of graduation.Currently, Kansas and Oregon are the only other states to offer online courses through Kaplan, according to the website. Kaplan Inc. is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co.For further information on Kaplan Academy of Colorado, visit http://www.kaplanacademy.com/colorado/index.asp.Contact John Gardner: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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