Hilliard students who opt for an online education should consider the McVey Innovative Learning Center, which also provides some of the benefits traditional students enjoy, according to Superintendent John Marschhausen.
"Our students go to digital schools because they want a 100-percent digital experience. We can give that to them now that we have the (learning center)," Marschhausen said. "We can do what (other virtual schools) do and I think we can do it better."
The McVey Innovative Learning Center opened its doors in August and district officials plan to expand its course offerings next school year.
It is open until 7 p.m. four nights a week and also on Sunday afternoons to assist students with any questions or tutorials to augment online sessions, Marschhausen said.
"Our students enrolled in online classes also have the opportunity to participate in band, choir or the marching band, and at the end of the day, they can walk across the stage and receive a Hilliard City Schools diploma," he said.
Brent Wise, director of innovation and extended learning for Hilliard City Schools, said the learning center provides seven online classes this year, but the course offerings will increase greatly next year.
"We will have 60 online courses available next year," Wise said.
He said the classes also would be made available to seventh-grade students next year.
This school year, 302 of the approximately 15,800 students who live in the district enrolled in an online or virtual school, said Amanda Morris, a spokeswoman for Hilliard City Schools.
When a student chooses to enroll in such a school, the per-pupil state funding the child's public district would have received is redirected to the student's school of choice.
In the case of Hilliard, for the current school year, that amount is almost $6,000 for each of the 302 students who live in the Hilliard school district but attend a virtual school, Morris said.
Marschhausen and Wise said an initiative will be started this spring to promote the benefits of the McVey Innovative Learning Center.
"When we look at what the future holds, our goal is to be able to educate every child who lives in our school district," Marschhausen said.