North East School District is going worldwide.
In an effort to bring back students it has lost to PA cyber-school, NESD has designed a new online program that will allow students to earn credits online – while still being a Grape Picker.
“We’ve had students that have left, and we’re trying to reclaim and bring them back,” said North East High School Assistant Principal Brian Emick.
In a technology savvy world that allows for long distance communication and collaboration, virtual classrooms have become more and more common.
“We’re seeing an increase in students who are looking at cyber services,” said Emick.
The district partnered with IU5 to utilize services and offer students cyber courses. These courses can range from math, science and literature to a wide variety of elective courses at a discounted rate.
Students enrolled in cyber courses will be responsible for standardized state testing, such as Keystones and PSSA’s, a fact that Emick feels may be a possible difficulty for the program. “Not having students in the buildings may make it difficult to instruct them,” he said.
Creating a program that makes earning credits more flexible allows North East to better serve every student, as these students can still participate in sports, clubs and other extra-curricular activities and are also offered health and mental health, counseling, IEP and other services.
“We’re trying to work with our students to make sure they’re receiving every support we can,” said Emick. “Through this program, we can give them what they aren’t offered outside of the district.”
Students in the cyber school program must follow the same policies used in the schools in terms of attendance, academics and behavior. Each student must check in for a certain amount of time through a daily log to be considered full-time.
To qualify for North East cyber courses, students and parents must fill out an application form and attend a team meeting with administration to review attendance and academic records.
Parents are required to monitor their child’s attendance and progress, and it is stated in the contract that they will maintain open communication with the student, as well as the school staff.
According to Emick, individuals who are not monitored closely and have little parent support are far less likely to stick with the routine and achieve good academic standing.
Progress is monitored through daily logs and progress reports that will usually be tracked on a weekly basis; however, reports can be printed at any time if needed.
Keeping up with changing times is a way to allow North East to adapt to student’s needs, ensuring maximum chances for success.
“We will continue to explore educational avenues and do what’s best for our students,” said Emick. “It is an ongoing process.”