Idaho and Minnesota High Schools Go Virtual
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Insight Schools, a company with a network of free, diploma-granting, online public high schools, recently announced virtual campuses for students in Minnesota and Idaho, which will open for the 2008-2009 school year. The service is free for the participants.
The schools offer accredited teachers in each state to provide instruction for 120 different courses. The teachers offer "office hours" each week where students can gather for a virtual classroom discussion. Other services include discussion threads and virtually run classroom clubs, such as photography and journalism. Adult mentors are assigned to work with students and their parents to orient them to the learning environment.
Parents have direct communication with teachers and mentors and get real-time access to student progress, attendance ,and grades.
"This is an exciting opportunity for young Idahoans and their parents," said Don Pena, President of the iSucceed Board, the nonprofit corporation running the program in Idaho. "Everything is reachable, clickable, and accessible because of the Internet. The Web is giving kids opportunities they never had before. That means that students in rural areas, students of color, students who have been home-schooled, and students who lead busy lives have new options for going to high school."
Prospective students include those whose needs may not be well served in a traditional school setting: advanced learners; full-time wage earners; students with health or physical challenges; and those who may have struggled socially in a traditional school. To ensure accessibility to students across the state, the school will provide a free laptop, printer, and Internet reimbursement to enrolled students.
The program in Minnesota is being delivered through the Brooklyn Center School District, near Minneapolis.
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About the author: Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.