Putting Education Reform To The Test

Seminole County Students Can Choose Online Classes To Fit Their Schedule

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You can set your alarm a little later if you're taking classes online.

Here’s a benefit to online classes you may not have considered: Sleeping in.

Seminole County high school students can opt out of early morning courses and take a class or two online later in the day. Others can opt for a mix of home schooling and virtual school.

The district is embracing change in an effort to boost enrollment.

New superintendent Walt Griffin told the Orlando Sentinel that parents want flexibility.

“People who home-school or send their children to private or charter schools might not know what we have to offer,” said Griffin.

Griffin wrote a report early this year laying out all the ways Seminole County Public Schools can accommodate students. Opportunities stretch far beyond traditional learning in brick and mortar classrooms.

Through the ePathways Initiative, Griffin wrote that “students will have a variety of course options, both core and elective, that can be taken in a modern classroom setting, in a virtual environment, or in a hybrid/blended format.”

From the “ePathways – 21st Century Choices for all 21st Century Learners” report:

Seminole County Public Schools recognizes that today’s students learn in different ways, at different rates, and on different schedules.

Our schools now offer the flexibility to accommodate today’s students and families through a variety of choice programs that include magnet schools and…virtual options.

Examples of the 2012-13 expanded choices include middle and high school computer labs that will be open for extended hours so students can access virtual classes beyond the school day, which allows students to either attend school during traditional hours or create a flexible schedule.

Elementary schools are designing plans to increase options for students to accelerate via virtual school course work and unique environments for supporting both full-time and part-time virtual access.

The goal is to provide flexibility and meet individual student needs.

Griffin wrote that “the mission of ePathways is to provide an academically rigorous, individualized and flexible learning experience to best accommodate individual needs.”

Part of his goal is to keep students connected to schools through on site computer labs. That would keep enrollment up, leaving the schools’ per student funding intact.

Enrollment is dropping in Seminole County and other districts around Florida, as more families are taking advantage of other school choice options.

The state’s Education Estimating Conference expects public school enrollment to remain mostly flat during the coming decade, even as the state’s population is expected to grow by several million.


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