This year Leon County Schools introduced Leon County Virtual School for local middle and high school students. Although online classes have been available through Florida Virtual School, the localization makes online classes more specific and practical for users. According to the Tallahassee Democrat (Wednesday August 31), there are already more than 1,000 students registered. This is a step in the right direction for Leon County schools.
More colleges and universities are increasing their number of online courses to accommodate student schedules and to encourage distance learning. I think allowing middle and high school students a jump start on this trend will give them the opportunity to boost their work ethic.
Students that take advantage of the virtual school have local teachers to help them but they have to do a lot of work on their own. It requires them to stay motivated and pace themselves to stay on track. This will benefit them once they enter college life and will not have professors to walk them through a class.
If these students and their parents decide this is something they want to get involved in, they have to take on these classes in addition to the regular course work. They are making more of an effort to get all the required coursework completed and make sure they graduate on time, an extremely important skill for college students.
Assistant Principal Jessica Lowe said that one of the big draws to the virtual school is that it makes room in students’ schedules to ensure they get their core academic classes done and have room for electives. This will help them be able to move on to the next grade or level more efficiently. This program could result in better college preparedness so that no child gets left behind.
Students also get the opportunity to take electives that may not be offered at their school, like Chinese. As someone who took advantage of many external academics like online courses and dual enrollment in high school I can attest that it makes the transition to college a bit simpler, allowing students to broaden their educational experiences and use technology in a scholarly way.