Virtual School provides flexibility in learning

Published 2:29 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County Schools’ virtual school program allows students to complete their course online while remaining a student at their physical school.

Coordinator Kelvin Boulware said 11 students heave enrolled in the program so far this year. All of the classes are taken through the Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide website.

Kristine Easterling, a virtual school senior at Chilton County High School, said virtual school appealed to her because she missed several days of school last year and found it difficult to catch up. Easterling estimated that she missed 30 days of schools last year for health-related reasons.

“I have asthma and anemia, and on top of that I have had always had problems with my (blood)  sugar,” Easterling said. “With my allergies, I was never able to get a flu shot, so I would get the flu every school year.”

She also missed classes because of volleyball tournaments and club trips.

She said making up the work was difficult with the A-day/ B-day schedule because she wouldn’t see the teacher for the class she missed until two days later. When she heard about the online program, Easterling thought, “If I was to do online schooling and have access to it whenever I want wherever I was it wouldn’t matter whatever was going on that day, I would be able to check on my school work and turn in assignments on time.”

Despite the challenges, Easterling was able to keep her grades high enough to be inducted into the Honor Society and Beta Club. She plans to continue her involvement with these clubs and the Student Government Association this year.

She is taking all of the classes she would be taking, if she attended CCHS each day, and will graduate with CCHS. The flexibility on an online format also allows her to work on school work at night or on the weekends, if she needs to. If she has a question, she can email her teachers and they usually respond in an hour. She said she enjoys getting real time feedback from her teachers.

Each class has Power Point presentations and videos for each lesson.

She said her AP Calculus class are also has videos demonstrating how to use the graphing calculator that is required for the course.

“I’m really enjoying it,” Easterling said. “It’s strange to say that I feel more challenged than I ordinarily would at school … Most people would think if you are accessing your school work from home, you would slack off with it and not be committed, but I’ve actually found myself pushing myself to do more.”

She said the format is also helping her learn how to take better notes.

“I really have to focus and make myself work a lot harder. The actual course work is a little more challenging,” Easterling said.

She has also enjoys being able to work at her own pace in subjects she is good at and not have to wait for other students.

Students are required to log in to ACCESS every school day. Easterling said if she does miss a day, she has to complete both days work the next time she logs in. Tests for the courses are given in a proctored setting at PASS Academy.