ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools has a plan to try and keep more students enrolled and on the path to graduation, by letting them learn from home. It’s part of a new online schooling option.
The days of walking from class to class, and learning in a lecture setting may be over for some students. APS will now offer full-time virtual education, online.
“It provides an opportunity for students who need a break from that traditional setting for various reasons,” explained Chris Jones, Director of Digital Learning for APS.
APS is now offering a full-time virtual education for students in grades 6-12 who want to learn from home. Courses can be completed with a computer and internet connection.
“It is a rigorous curriculum that would be led by highly qualified teachers,” said Jones. “It does follow all state and national standards.”
All classes would take place online, but there will be in-person tutoring, small group instruction, and teacher office hours available.
“I think if you want to be home with your kids and do different activities and stuff with them it’s a good idea,” said Catherine Blas, a mother of four.
“I don’t like it just because I want my son to have a social life,” said Ruth Yanez. “I don’t want him being stuck at home looking at a computer all day.”
Each household is different. Some kids might have truancy problems, while others might be thinking of leaving public school for private, charter schools, or home-schooling.
The new online option gives students yet another path to earn a high school diploma within APS.
“It is important to remain competitive, but for us it’s all about student success, so if we can help our students succeed within the district, we would like to keep our students here,” said Jones.
Jones said out some students have kids of their own, or work commitments that keep them from attending class on a regular basis.
While online school may be a better option for select students, Jones added, it won’t necessarily be an easy way out.
“Students have to be willing to put forth the effort within our program,” Jones explained. “So it is not a diploma mill, it’s going to be something that again is led by highly qualified teachers.”
As part of the program, the student would need a learning coach age 18 or older, who commits to support their student’s learning on a regular basis. “That is going to be a huge component is parent involvement, and family involvement, consistent communication,” Jones explained.
Students that want to participate can pre-enroll in the coming months. The online program will be in full swing this fall.
APS already has a virtual high school, eCADEMY, which combines online learning with face-to-face schooling. The new online school would be digital only with in-person support only as needed.
APS has an online survey up for parents to give them feedback about the program. Parents can take the online survey until March 27 to help the district develop the new school.