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Online charter school to open Augusta learning center

Friday, June 21, 2013 4:28 PM
Last updated Monday, June 24, 2013 1:58 AM
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High school dropouts or students who aren’t comfortable in the typical classroom will have another way to work on a diploma this fall.

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Principal Jonathan Woods checks to see whether the phone lines are working at Provost Academy's new learning center on Bay Street in Augusta.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Principal Jonathan Woods checks to see whether the phone lines are working at Provost Academy's new learning center on Bay Street in Augusta.

Online charter school Provost Academy is working with the Magic Johnson Bridgescape program to open a learning center in Augusta. The center will supplement Provost’s virtual school so students can get one-on-one help from teachers or use computers.

“In this day and age with technology, this is the trend that education is going towards,” said Jonathan Woods, the principal of the Augusta center set to open at 360 Bay Street in Olde Town in August. “Any option that you give a student to complete high school is one that’s needed.”

Provost Academy, which launched in Georgia in July 2012, has 1,126 high school students enrolled across the state and fewer than 40 in the Augusta area, according to executive director Monica Henson. The school hopes to run an aggressive recruitment campaign this summer to enroll 200 students in the Augusta center by fall.

Movers were bringing furniture, desks and computers to the Bridgescape center last week, where Woods will be joined by two content teachers, a guidance counselor, a special education teacher and a full-time security officer. The walls are being painted bright blue and green, and more than 30 Dell laptops have been set up in individual modules.

Though the school hopes to recruit 200 students, Woods said not all will use the center every day or all day. The workplace is there for when students want to drop in for an hour of extra help or spend an afternoon completing courses on the computer.

“We’re just excited,” he said. “We want to help those struggling kids and get them to graduation.”

Provost Academy is a tuition-free public school chartered by the state board of education, but it is centered on a computer-based curriculum that allows students to work at their own pace.

Virtual learning has gained traction as families look toward alternatives to traditional public school. It is often chosen by students who have to travel for sports or other hobbies or those unhappy in the classroom.

Georgia Connections Academy launched in 2011 with 700 students statewide and anticipates 3,000 for the 2013-14 year, according to Principal Heather Robinson.

Georgia Cyber Academy, the largest online charter school in the state, reached 12,000 students last year, a 2,000-student increase from the year before. The state department of education’s Georgia Virtual School has 20,000 students enrolled this year after launching in 2005.

Henson said Provost Academy students have individualized plans that fit their needs and abilities.

Provost’s curriculum is approved by the state department of education and has the same graduation requirements as traditional public schools.

Certified teachers hold live lectures that students can tune into or watch later in their living rooms, a coffee shop or elsewhere.

It also provides virtual tutoring sessions, but the Bridgescape center will serve as a meeting place where Augusta-area students can come in for live help.

Bridgescape has 15 centers in four states, and the Augusta site will be Provost’s fourth partnership with Bridgescape in Georgia.

“We have a lot of different types of kids,” Henson said. “The one thing they have in common is something is making them a square peg that’s not fitting into the round hole of local public high schools.”

LEARN MORE

Find more information on Provost Academy at ga.provostacademy.com.

Comments (13) Add comment
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seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/22/13 - 07:36 am
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Thank you Magic Johnson

Online charter school Provost Academy has partnered with the Magic Johnson Bridgescape program to open a learning center in Augusta. The center will serve as a supplement to Provost’s virtual school so students can walk in to get one-on-one help from teachers or use computers they might not have at home.

This is what will work for the young group! FINALLY some good ideas.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/22/13 - 07:42 am
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Absolutely!!!

THIS is the future of education and will save us billions once the full potential is utilized.

Graymare
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Graymare 06/22/13 - 09:17 am
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What about their accreditation?

Their diplomas will be of no use if they are not accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). No college will accept the diploma and the student will still need a to obtain a GED. Will they be a SACS school or just another diploma mill? Students should look for the SACS accreditation before deciding upon attending any high school or college. Otherwise, the high school diploma is worthless and college credits do not transfer.

Riverman1
84920
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Riverman1 06/22/13 - 09:21 am
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Those schools are accredited,

Those schools are accredited, as are most of the online colleges. I think testing is done in supervised centers.

Graymare
3244
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Graymare 06/22/13 - 12:10 pm
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Accredited

Accredited. Yes they all use the word but unless it is SACS, or one of the other regionally accredited governing boards, their credits go nowhere.

corgimom
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corgimom 06/22/13 - 05:31 pm
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The military won't take them,

The military won't take them, they know that a person who needed to go to an online school isn't a good fit for them and won't do well in the military.
High school is much more than academics.
If you can't cut it in high school, you aren't going to do too well in the real world, especially the military. People drop out for REASONS, and the military knows that.

Schools are so easy today, all you need to get a diploma is show up and breathe.

Just like the article said, they are square pegs trying to fit in round holes, and the military knows that, too.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/22/13 - 05:49 pm
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Apples and Oranges

Ah, but you are mixing apples and oranges. The fact is online graduates are as smart and capable as traditional school grads as evidenced by traditional testing. The schools are SACS accredited.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/22/13 - 05:52 pm
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"Accredited. Yes they all use

"Accredited. Yes they all use the word but unless it is SACS, or one of the other regionally accredited governing boards, their credits go nowhere."

I totally agree. Please tell me what local college extension school is NOT SACS accredited?

corgimom
33162
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corgimom 06/22/13 - 07:06 pm
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No, they aren't, they are

No, they aren't, they are accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission, unless something has changed.

And it's not about book learning and knowledge; that's the easy part. High school prepares you to function as an adult, in the working world, dealing with authority, organizing your time, showing up at a certain place at a certain time, and learning responsibility. It's also about experiencing all kinds of people and having to get along with large groups of people that you may or may not like. High schools are a microcosm of our society. Just like the military. That's why they aren't taking dropouts, either.

The military has tried accepting those graduates, and the washout rate is much higher for them. As you know, the military doesn't train using online classes, those graduates don't know how to cope. The same issues that those students had in high school are exacerbated in the military, who doesn't play with anybody, doesn't amend things for anybody, and who isn't interested in difference, but is all about conformity.

They will tell those graduates the same as they tell the GED students- go to a traditional college, complete a year of coursework, if they do that successfully, then ok.

The military trains millions of people, they know what works- and what doesn't. And they are the most efficient training program on Earth, if they say there's problems, then there are.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/23/13 - 07:32 am
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Corgimom, you are right that

Corgimom, you are right that there's something to the socialization factor of students attending traditional schools, but the "internet" schools such as University of Phoenix and the Georgia online high school are accredited by the official regional accrediting agency. In the past, almost every college offered correspondence courses where students could obtain a year or two of credit. Online appears to be an extension and improvement over that concept. There are hundreds of regionally accredited online schools and programs. It's going to grow.

Sweet son
10553
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Sweet son 06/23/13 - 01:32 pm
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We, the taxpayers, must be paying somehow. Is this just another

set aside or entitlement? Most public schools have alternative schools which should take care of students who don't have the socialization skills to be able to get along in the regular classroom. I praise Magic Johnson for his efforts but I am sure "we" are paying too!

corgimom
33162
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corgimom 06/23/13 - 04:40 pm
1
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When you talk about your

When you talk about your school days, people rarely talk about what they learned, but they will talk for hours about the people and the crazy stuff that happened at schools. Those virtual schools deny kids that right, they will be missing out on important socialization skills.

Schools are already seeing it now, kids are so used to sitting for hours playing video games. Video games don't teach you squat about how to deal with other people, like playing with other kids did for us. They don't help kids mature and grow.

The kids that can't get along with others, can't give and take, can't handle frustration, can't take turns, can't play in a group- we could tell, even at 5 and 6, who played a lot of video games, and who didn't.

Dr. Monica Henson
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Dr. Monica Henson 06/24/13 - 12:16 pm
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Accreditation, etc.

Provost Academy Georgia is "Accredited With Quality," the highest level awarded by the Georgia Accrediting Commission. GAC accreditation is recognized by the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Student Finance Commission (which administers the HOPE Scholarship and Grant program), and the military.

We have been moved from Readiness to Candidacy with AdvancED and will host an External Review Visit in March of 2014. A vote will be taken in June 2014 whether to award SACS CASI accreditation to Provost Academy Georgia.

Federal law was changed more than a year ago to require all branches of the military to treat legally operating online high schools the same way they treat traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

It's a myth that all students who attend online school don't socialize well with others. There are numerous ways to achieve social skills that don't require attendance at a brick-and-mortar school site. Homeschool families have done this for decades. Many of our students participate in community and recreation activities in addition to their online studies.

We have a partnership with the Georgia National Guard to work with dropouts at the Youth Challenge Academies in Fort Gordon and Fort Stewart to earn high school diplomas.

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