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Online Credit Recovery Program Helps Chicago Area Students Graduate on Schedule

More than 1,000 students of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), each previously lagging in one or more course credits necessary for graduation, will now receive their diplomas along with the rest of the Class of 2010. The students owe their previously unexpected timely graduations in large part to a virtual learning program launched by CPS, in conjunction with Aventa Learning, through which students use Aventa's online credit recovery courses (OCRCs) in their spare time to make up deficiencies in graduation requirements.

The Aventa OCRCs are offered as a substitute for a student to retake a course he or she previously failed. Prior to the launch of the CPS virtual learning program, a student typically addressed this situation by retaking the same in-class course, often with the same teacher. Through the program, a student can make up a course deficiency online at an individualized pace and schedule with the support of district mentors available via online chats and e-mail and, if necessary, in person.

"Previously, if a student failed a course they might have had difficulty repeating that course. Budget cuts made that situation even worse," said Robin Gonzalez, manager of distance learning for CPS. "With the CPS Virtual School, we have taken down the bureaucratic barriers to graduation and have ensured that every child has access to a high quality, flexible learning option that meets his or her needs."

The company piloted its online credit recovery program at CPS in 2008 before making it available to districts nationwide. The OCRCs are taught by Aventa's own teachers (who are both subject-qualified and state-certified). This eliminates any chance of a personal history existing between a teacher and a student who previously failed the teacher's course, preventing any possible bias.

CPS currently offers the virtual learning program at 75 of its 125 schools, with more than 4,000 of its students currently enrolled in one or more online courses. In addition to OCRCs, the district's virtual learning program also offers online Advanced Placement courses from Aventa at schools that don't offer the in-class AP course.

Overall, the company offers a full range of required courses and electives in English and world languages, math and natural sciences, social sciences, technology, and fine arts, as well as several middle school courses. A complete list of high school courses can be found here.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.