Pilot program offers online learning option
Canal Winchester High School students struggling in a traditional classroom setting may now complete some of their courses by logging in to a new computer program.
Superintendent Jim Sotlar demonstrated the Apex online virtual learning system to the Canal Winchester Board of Education at its Sept. 16 meeting.
While the district has used other online learning systems in the past, this pilot digital program, which meets curriculum standards, has the capability of providing lessons in math, science, English, social studies, world languages, electives and Advanced Placement courses, he said.
According to Sotlar, Apex can be used for high school course credit, credit recovery, remediation, intervention, acceleration and exam preparation.
"This year, we are using it specifically for students who are credit-deficient or need credit recovery," Sotlar said. "We are using the Apex program for our alternative behavior intervention program for students who need an alternative setting due to behavior reasons."
Sotlar said the school district is trying to help students who have fallen behind earn the credits they need to graduate on time.
Ten students are currently enrolled in the program.
"The overall goal is to keep them in school and keep them from dropping out," Sotlar said.
In addition to helping students stay in school, the district is looking at how the Apex program might be used in the future, he said.
"We will probably open it up for the other opportunities that the system allows for kids to earn regular credit or AP classes and some of the global languages it offers," Sotlar added.
Blended learning is another instructional approach that Sotlar hopes to see used more to improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness. He said blended learning combines digital curriculum/technology in a traditional classroom.
"Blended learning classrooms will vary in the amount of integration of traditional and digital learning, based on teacher experience and comfort level," he said.
In other business, the board adopted a policy that permits home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities and clubs at the junior high and high school, as long as they meet board and Ohio High School Athletic Association requirements, including the payment of pay-to-participate fees.