The student news site of Star Valley High School

Mountain Star

Online Classes Here to Stay

J Scott, Staff Writer

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From our extensive library of well functioning computers to the fact that every student has access to an iPad, we’re one of the more technologically advanced school’s in Wyoming. This fact has only grown more apparent this year as our school has begun to offer online classes, but how much do you know about our school’s virtual academy?
Jason Horsley, the administrator in charge of the online schooling program, answers a few questions this program.

Q: What is currently being offered by our school’s online program?

A: Star Valley Virtual School offers virtual course options for students in LCSD#2. Many of the offerings parallel current offerings at Star Valley High School, Star Valley Middle School, and Swift Creek High School. For example, we offer English I – English IV, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, History, Economics, Spanish, etc. We are currently developing additional courses as well.

Q: How does this program work, exactly?

A: Students who are interested in this option generally are identified by the school counselor, teacher. or administrator. If the counselor or administrator endorses the enrollment to the virtual school, the student can apply to take a single course or multiple courses through Star Valley Virtual. The application requires the student to identify the courses they would like to take, the date they anticipate completing, and the application must include signatures of counselors and administrators. Part of the application processincludes a meeting with the student and their parents/guardians to discuss the requirements required to participate in the virtual school. One aspect of Star Valley Virtual that is different than most virtual schools is a mandatory attendance period. While exploring the option of online learning possibilities it became evident that many students do not successfully complete virtual courses or online learning programs. We only wanted to offer a program that enhanced a students educational path. When accepted the student spends a short time (generally 8-10 days) physically attending at the virtual school located at Star Valley High School. This allows students to meet our coordinator, the administration, counselors, and teachers. Once they have demonstrated successful participation during this short induction period they are no longer required to attend, and can complete their course online. However, some Common Assessments and exams must be completed on campus. 

Q: Is it possible at this point for a kid to graduate from Star Valley completely online?

A: At this initial implementation stage, we do not offer enough courses to earn the required credits to graduate from Star Valley High School.

Q: Do you think that’ll ever happen?

A: We continue to develop courses and options that may lead to that pathway in the future.

Q: How do you feel about that? What effects do you think that could have on the school system?

A: Offering an online graduation pathway is a challenging endeavor. Online learning is not for everyone. It is our goal to provide an educational experience that prepares our students to be successful at the next level, whatever that next level may be. Some students need an online pathway in order to achieve their own personal educational goals.

How do I feel about it? In 2017, I believe we need to explore all possibilities to meet the needs of individual students and their families. What an awesome time in the history of the world to live. I enjoy exploring the possibilities for LCSD#2 students that go beyond tradition walls of education. We have amazing teachers and staff that do amazing things everyday. I struggled to recommend to our students that another district across the state could virtually meet their needs better than we could. We needed to find a way to meet their needs right here at home, with the great staff we have. We are moving slowly as we increase the capacity of the virtual school. We don’t want to create an “easy” way to receive a diploma in Lincoln County School District #2. We want to create courses with parallel rigor and high level learning expectations. If ever, a student could graduate from one of our high schools through a virtual pathway, we need to be able to say, “They can be Successful At The Next Level”.

Currently, the virtual academy is run by Mrs .Jessica Hooper from room 201 in the high school. The future is here, and it is only going to get better. Who knows? Maybe by the time our kids attend SVHS, they won’t have to leave their homes in order to earn a diploma.

 

 

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The student news site of Star Valley High School
Online Classes Here to Stay