Archive for Thursday, August 25, 2005

BHS offers on-line education opportunity

August 25, 2005

Baldwin High School has added another way for students to learn as the Baldwin e-School was approved for enrolling students outside of BHS last week.

"I think that was a tremendous thing for the community," BHS Principal Allen Poplin said. "It's just one more opportunity for children and a way to meet their needs."

The Baldwin e-School is an online school that runs through the Baldwin District. It is a way for students to take classes on the Internet while counting toward BHS credits.

Poplin and BHS Librarian Jana Jorn informed the school board of the news at their meeting Aug. 8.

Jorn said BHS should be able to reach a variety of students with the Baldwin e-School.

"I know we have some students who didn't get their diploma, but they want to do it through this route," Jorn said. "I think it will be beneficial to students who are already here anyway and also will benefit people that the regular system didn't work for. It's going to reach a whole group of people we weren't reaching very well."

Poplin agrees, saying this is one more chance for BHS to reach different students.

"It's another opportunity to meet the individual needs of students," Poplin said. "That could be credit recover, say if a student failed a class and needed that opportunity to make that class up. They could take the class here, they could take it through a correspondence class through one of the local universities or this online course."

Poplin then said that BHS has been lucky, because it can offer different types of learning to its students.

"I think this is another way to meet the needs of some kids," Poplin said. "We have the college release, and how many schools have that? We're pretty spoiled here, because you've got to have a college pretty close. We've also had some vocational release time, not as much as we used to."

The Baldwin e-School will be using the Virtual Prescriptive Learning software. BHS has been using VPL for the last two years, but mostly for credit recovery for students.

The Baldwin e-School will be offered to more than just BHS students. Some other students that might enroll could be home-schooled children or ones that have dropped out and have yet to graduate.

"It's already being used by students in the public school and that will continue," Jorn said. "I was explaining to the school board is we can get funding for kids who aren't currently Baldwin High students."

Jorn said virtual schools are popping up all over the state and are becoming popular.

"There is a lot of buzz about it in the education world," Jorn said. "Basehor-Linwood has a large number of kids enrolled in their program and the Lawrence district has theirs which started last year. It's just been in the news and then I've been to some conferences that talked about it too."

There are currently 18 Kansas school districts and five service centers with virtual schools.

The Baldwin e-School enrolled its first student Tuesday morning, who is hoping to finish their education at BHS.

Poplin believes the idea of the school will catch on.

"I think the need will grow as the word gets out," Poplin said. "I think the program will simply grow. I think there will be students who might use this as part of their education. I think it's going to be a good thing for the kids."

Bret Jones, BHS assistant principal, said he is excited for the virtual school, but it will be a new experience for the school.

"It will be a challenge for us, because we are moving into an area which we are unfamiliar with," Jones said. "But, like Allen said, it's another opportunity to reach out to students."

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