Online option gives Carson City School District students flexibility
May 9, 2013
Sadie Janssens, 16, was a good student growing up. But when she started at Carson High School, taking mostly honors classes, she saw her grades start to drop. It was hard to focus.
So she looked into her options, and in January she transferred to the Carson City School District's online offering, Carson Online.
"I'm moving at twice the speed you do in normal school," Janssens said. "I'm going to graduate hopefully before the end of next year."
Her story will be among several featured in a video to be posted on the school district's website to promote the program.
"We're giving the students a chance to tell their story why they chose Carson Online," said Jim Madsen, senior marketing manager with Advanced Academics, the curriculum provider for Carson Online. "For every student, there is a different reason."
He said the online program suits students not served in the traditional setting. That could be because they're behind their peers or ahead of them. Some need the flexibility to work or pursue other interests, Madsen said.
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"Teachers are available 24 hours a day throughout the school week," he said. "A kid can go on any time of the day or night, whenever it fits best in their schedule, and they can get that one-on-one attention they can't get in the classroom."
It is the third year the district has offered the online option.
Associate Superintendent Susan Keema said it has become increasingly more successful, with a 96 percent passing rate among full-time students and a 99 percent passing rate for part-time students.
"If I were a parent shopping around for this type of learning, that is something you want to look for," Keema said. "This high success rate is ultimately going to get you more value for your time and effort."
Students who enroll in Carson Online are still Carson High School students and can continue to take classes there or participate in any extracurricular activities.
"Now I can go get a job while still going to school full time," said Kaley O'Neal, 15, who said her grades have improved to As and Bs from Ds and Fs. "It gives you more opportunity, and you can still be a part of the high school."
About 148 students are enrolled full time in the program. Students may also take online courses to make up for credit deficiency or to supplement their regular courses.
The program is housed on the Pioneer High School campus. Students must come in to take tests, but are welcome to do their work there as well.
"Sometimes I come in because I don't want to sit at home," explained Megan Norris, 15. "But I like working from home sometimes, too."
Jill Council, distance education coordinator for the school district, said she was interested in the students' stories they shared for the promotional video.
"A lot of them I'm hearing for the first time," she said. "It's really been an eye-opener."
It's important to hear from students and parents how the program is working, Madsen said.
"It's really compelling to hear their stories," he said. "The regular classroom is not a fit for every kid."