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TROY, AL (WSFA) -
Many colleges and universities have turned to the internet to offer online classes and degrees. Now, the Pike County School System is one of the first in Alabama to do the same.
It's called Virtual High School. The program will offer credit recovery for students who have fallen behind and are more likely to drop out. It's also for students who are eager to jump ahead and take advanced classes. The classes will be taught over the internet with videos of lectures and possibly even Skype. Required credit classes will be offered, along with AP, Dual Enrollment, and electives normally not available at a regular high school, such as Latin and Anthropology. With this new program, educators hope students will be more likely to stay in school and in the end, increase graduation.
"The rigor is there, the work still has to be done, but it is possibly removing some barriers that the kids may have had that were holding them back even more," said Dr. Mark Head, administrative assistant to the superintendent. "At least another avenue and opportunity they can go do this and maybe work a little more at their own pace, whether it's faster or slower. We're really excited about it."
Zachary Holder is also excited about the program. Holder, a high school student, has fallen behind in class and as it stands, may choose not to graduate. With this new Virtual High School however, he could catch up and easily graduate with his peers. Holder admits, "Once I fell behind, it was like I didn't want to do anything anymore because I knew I wasn't going to graduate with my right class. I was with all the younger people and I didn't have any motivation." With the addition of the program he says, "Since I'm able to maybe catch up in my right grade, I'm really, really excited about it."
For students who fall upon the credit recovery path, they will also be required to take three career tech courses within the same field. Which means not only will they graduate with a regular diploma, but also a credential in a career tech field making it even easier for them to go on to tech school or gain employment upon graduation.
The school system will set up a physical location for students to have internet access and will also have a teacher on site. Starting out, students will spend half their day at the virtual school and half at their regular high school.
The Virtual High School has been approved by the State Department of Education. It will kickoff in August at the start of the school year.