CARLETON — Beginning next year, students at Airport High School will have the opportunity to take classes online.
The district is unveiling Airport Virtual Academy, which is a new way for students to earn a diploma from the high school. Known as AVA, the virtual school offers a variety of classes online. AVA is open to any student, officials said, including those who might have moved out of the district but still want to earn a diploma from Airport Community Schools. Students who need to recover credits and those who might want to pursue courses not offered by the district can use the new computer-based system.
Jason Mensing, supervisor of AVA, said the program was used during the fourth marking period this year for credit recovery to test the program.
“ This will allow students to work at their own pace,” Mr. Mensing explained. “It’s not just for credit recovery.”
Students who might have fallen behind in a class can use the program to catch up with their classroom credits.
Others can use the program for advanced classes. “ There aren’t too many colleges nowadays that don’t offer online courses,” Mr. Mensing said.
Supt. John Krimmel said the virtual academy will be housed in the former woodshop room, which will be transformed over the summer.
“ We had some bond money left over to change this into AVA’s new home,” he said.
The virtual academy will mix several software programs, which will allow students to take a variety of classes. Students who enroll in the virtual academy can participate in extracurricular activities such as band and sports, as well.
“AVA is an individualized learning program,” Mr. Mensing said. “The beauty is that there isn’t one program. We can make things work to each student’s needs.”
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Students who move out of the district can access the virtual academy to receive a diploma from Airport High School.
Mr. Mensing talked about one student who will be moving to a different city this summer but will earn her high school diploma from Airport.
The program can provide course options to homeschooled students who might want to receive credits in Career and Technical Education courses.
AVA also can provide an avenue for students who cannot attend school to earn credits.
“ If a student has a social anxiety disorder, virtual academy is available to suit their educational needs,” Mr. Mensing explained. “ We have students who suffer illnesses that will be able to enroll in the academy.”
A virtual academy is flexible in its scheduling, which allows students to learn at their own pace, Mr. Krimmel added.
“ They don’t have to physically come in and take classes,” he said. “ There’s a lot of flexibility with the program.”
Because the virtual academy is comprised of several programs, nearly 300 classes can be offered through the online system.
Students enrolled in the program will have to meet certain expectations and will be in daily contact with those who oversee the academy to make sure they are meeting their goals.
Airport Virtual Academy will be equipped with 60 computers, but students who enroll can access the system from anywhere.