Offering Online Courses to Valley High School Students

As the school year winds to a close in the Valley, administrators are already thinking about next year.

Starting in the fall, students may have the option to take online classes.

The state Department of Education has approved 13 vendors to provide courses over the computer, and officials say students will have a more diverse schedule of classes.

The courses will be made possible by corporations and nonprofit groups.

The General Assembly has been working for the past two years putting the program together, and on Tuesday, Valley school officials said they'll be a part of it.

Teachers and administrators at Rockingham County schools have spent the last several months putting together plans for online courses, and they say the classes will help increase understanding and graduation rates.

While the program is still in its early stages, Dr. Kelly Troxell, an official with Rockingham County Schools, says online courses will be targeted primarily toward high school students at risk of failing to graduate for the first year.

She says the program will be introduced starting in the fall, with plans to expand it to more students over the coming years.

Troxll explains it's all part of an effort to get kids more interested in learning.

"The benefit to our students will be that they get to engage and interact with technology," says Troxell. "With cellphones, iPads and iPods, we live in a digital age. We think this program will be more engaging and more interesting to students. As a result, they will be more likely to be interested and stay with something, rather than consider dropping out of school."

She says the county plans to expand the program to all students by summer 2012 and offer new courses, like world languages, that aren't in local schools right now.


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