Sunday, October 08, 2000

Students can make up classes online

Fairfield follows in Lakota's steps

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD Next month, Fairfield Senior High School and alternative school students who have failed English classes will be able to make up credit by taking an after-school, online course supervised by a Fairfield teacher.

        Initially the program will be offered to seniors who need credits to graduate, but it will be expanded to include other subjects and students in other grade levels, said Bonnie Fitzharris, curriculum supervisor for the Fairfield Schools.

        “Math is not available to us right now, but English is,” Ms. Fitzharris said last week, explaining the program to the Fairfield Board of Education. “It is a big happening. We're excited about it.”

        The program Fairfield is considering is the same one begun last January at Lakota East High School. It started with 95 students and was open to students from Lakota West and the freshman school. Plans call for the program to be offered at the freshman school in January and at West next spring, said Mike Taylor, Lakota's assistant superintendent. Lakota offers courses in the core academic areas: English, math, social studies and for eign language.

        But like Fairfield, Lakota's after-school program is open only to students who have failed a course. Mr. Taylor said that in the future the district might offer independent study or advance credit courses through the program, something Fairfield officials say they, too, will study.

        “We know it's on the horizon,” Mr. Taylor said. “We're taking baby steps — one step at a time. We think the program has helped some kids who were falling through the cracks.”

        Likening it to an “electronic summer school,” Fairfield Senior High School principal Monica Mitter on Friday said she and others are reviewing the offerings to decide which online course best matches with Fairfield's English curriculum. Once it is decided, brochures will be distributed to students and separate mailings will go to parents, probably within two weeks.

        The class is tentatively scheduled to begin Nov. 7 and will operate one day a week for three hours, probably from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., Mrs. Mitter said. Final details are still being worked out, including the cost, tentatively set at $215.

        Under the program, students have nine weeks to complete 18 lessons and will receive half a credit, Mrs. Fitzharris said. Students work at their own pace. Assignments are submitted electronically. They are graded by the teacher, who also gives tests.


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