Re-2 goes virtual with online courses |

Re-2 goes virtual with online courses

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE – With the completion of the new Colorado Mountain College Western Garfield County Campus, the old facility on Railroad Avenue in Rifle became available for Garfield School District Re-2 use.And administration came up with a pretty good way to use the space.The Re-2 school district is teaming up with Kaplan Virtual Education to open the Kaplan Academy of Colorado, a virtual high school offering online courses to students within Re-2. The district is the first in the state to offer the online courses through Kaplan Inc., a global education provider offering high school students flexibility and advanced educational learning opportunities online. The project will be based out of the old CMC building, which is now the Center for Integrative Studies Program.According to program coordinator Garrick Frontella the new program is going to bring the Re-2 district, and lead the rest of the state, into the next generation of instruction.”The Kaplan program is a seamless, high-quality alternative education,” Frontella said. The program is very similar to the environment of an actual classroom, according to Frontella, while offering students the flexibility to learn from the comfort of their home and to study courses the district may not provide.”It’s really going to be helpful for homebound students, due to illness or disability, so they can keep up with their education and not fall behind.”Classes are accessible on any Internet-accessible computer, and students can work at their own pace and receive grades in as little as 24 hours from state-certified instructors.”Advanced students that have moved past what the school can provide will be able to take more challenging classes,” Frontella said. “But it will allow expelled students, that the district is required to offer services to, the ability to keep up with their education as well.”In a case where students are looking to get some of their first-year college requirements out of the way, this program will allow them that access as well. Frontella said that the virtual education program can provide students, if so desired, the ability to receive an entire high-school education online.”They could,” he said. “But they would still be a graduate of Rifle or Coal Ridge High Schools, and their transcripts would read the same as any other students.”The program has protections in place to identify that a student is doing the work, track attendance and has strict guidelines against plagiarism, Frontella said, to ensure that the students are completing their own work. The program isn’t designed to make learning easier, but to allow flexibility and more advanced learning opportunities.”Students can still get a quality education without going to the school,” Frontella said.Re-2 also will be allowed to enroll students from other districts across the state who wish to take classes, but only have 10 “seats” available this year.Currently, other states like Florida and Kansas offer online courses through Kaplan. Missouri is the only statewide program that covers all school districts, according to Frontella. He’s hoping this program will be similar in the next couple of years.”It’s another step,” Frontella said. “It will help students achieve their goals, whatever their needs may be.”Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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