March 19, 2013
/PRNewswire/ -- For one school district in
, online learning is quickly becoming an essential way to provide more of its students with greater flexibility and options for achieving their academic goals. This past fall,
Community Schools launched the
iSchool, a full-time online school for K-12 students. In addition, the district implemented online learning in its local schools for enrichment, special education, alternative education, and advanced studies. In the six months since launch, more than 450 students have enrolled in online courses.
Located in rural
East Linn County
, the district has recently faced high unemployment, homelessness, and other related issues that can make going to school a challenge for many students. To help provide their students as many educational options as possible, administrators at
Community Schools decided to implement an online learning program that would allow for scheduling and pacing flexibility.
"We want to meet all of our students' needs, whether they are preparing for college or a career, and help them go further than they ever thought possible," said
, Superintendent of
Community Schools. "With online learning, our district can enable students to become 21
century learners by providing them the rigorous curriculum, tools, and support they need to succeed."
Community Schools partners with K12 Inc., the nation's leading provider of technology-powered individualized education solutions for students in pre-kindergarten through high school. For its full-time online program,
iSchool uses the K
curriculum for students in grades K-5, and Aventa Learning
for students in grades 6-12. The district also uses the Aventa curriculum in its local schools for enrichment. For example, middle school students receive additional math preparation and are able to take advanced courses, such as algebra and language arts.
The district also uses the A+nyWhere Learning System
(A+LS) by K
to customize courses. For a special education class at a local middle school,
teachers use A+LS to develop targeted lessons designed to address individual skill or learning gaps.
The programs use K
teachers who are certified in
and are experienced in delivering online instruction. In addition, district teachers provide in-person support for students and their families.
, Online Program Coordinator for
Community Schools, says, "We know well that when it comes to students, one size does not fit all. With online learning, we have all of the resources we need to help each student progress in his or her own way."
For one family,
iSchool has been an excellent solution for its three children in grades 7 and 8. The mother says, "Using the online school has been a tremendous blessing to our family. We have been homeschooling for a number of years, but we were looking for a rigorous curriculum and, at the same time, we wanted to give our children the opportunity to interact with other students and teachers. We are able to be involved on a daily basis and check in with the kids to see how they are doing. The teachers and mentors provide great support to the students and parents. The students can work at their own pace. They can work ahead, or they can have extra time if a particular lesson is challenging. Once we learned how to navigate the system and the technology of the courses, we hit the ground running. Our children have been learning a tremendous amount this year and have been getting great grades doing it."
Students participating in the online programs can also take advantage of other flexible academic and extracurricular options. They may take courses taught in local schools in the traditional classroom setting, for subjects such as culinary, vocational, or fine arts. They may also participate in local school athletics. In addition, students may participate in an extended 5-year high school program to simultaneously receive a diploma and an associate degree upon completion.