State will offer virtual schools

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YORK, S.C.--- Forget lockers and lunchrooms, eighth-grader Will Edwards starts his school day by logging onto a computer in his living room. Undisturbed by noisy classmates, he completes his assignments in about six hours, Monday through Thursday -- and reserves most Fridays for hunting and fishing with his father.

Jessica Miller, 14, of Rock Hill, S.C., demonstrates the process of the virtual school to parents during an information seminar.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Jessica Miller, 14, of Rock Hill, S.C., demonstrates the process of the virtual school to parents during an information seminar.

The 14-year-old left his local public school in November to be homeschooled by a private national online program his parents pay for. Next fall, however, Will hopes to be enrolled in one of three new full-time public cyber schools expected to open in South Carolina.

"Teachers weren't giving me enough to do," he said recently. "I get to stay at home. And I like the quiet."

Two kindergarten-through 12th-grade schools are set to take up to 1,500 students. A third cyber high school, for up to 500 students, will be evaluated next month.

South Carolina is joining at least 18 other states that allow students to go to cyber school full time. The state already is among at least 38 where students can take some state-run virtual classes to supplement their schedule, according to a report from the North American Council for Online Learning.

More than 750 students have signed up for 500 slots in one school, and a lottery will determine enrollment. At least 900 more have signed up for the other virtual school, which will stop taking applications next month.

Full-time cyber schools, proponents note, doesn't mean students spend all day on a computer. Students also use traditional textbooks and other materials include microscopes and art supplies, which arrive by mail. Students can log in at specific hours for live lessons with teachers, or e-mail or call teachers at other times.

"It's not for everyone, but if you look at our world today, technology is how we're learning," said former state Education Superintendent Barbara Nielsen

Ms. Nielsen is now interim superintendent of the state's public charter school district, which approves and oversees the cyber schools.

Proponents say students who fit well in the program include competitive athletes who need flexible hours, gifted students bored with traditional classes, or students who are highly allergic, pregnant or need to work.

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Rose
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Rose 03/30/08 - 09:26 am
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This is great for students to

This is great for students to get away from the influence of kids who are nothing but trouble makers. This is a great idea.

iletuknow
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iletuknow 03/30/08 - 11:18 am
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Fine for eccentrics,but so

Fine for eccentrics,but so much is missed by not experiencing the interaction with other pupils that will be so important in their working career.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 03/30/08 - 12:06 pm
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I agree iletyouknow.. and it

I agree iletyouknow.. and it saddens me, but as unsafe as most of our local schools are, I would try it. Both my sisters had to drop out in 11th grade and finish in private due to overwhelming harrassment and disruptive behavior in the school and wasn't allowed to change schools. I would rather private school for the experience and social skills, but depending on the price it may be a good alternative to those who may not be able to afford private school or relocate their whole family to a better district. A disruptive school can really hinder a smart kid with great potential.

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 03/30/08 - 12:24 pm
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Gee, bring that kind of

Gee, bring that kind of program to the Richmond County and see if you get people to sign up quicker than spit! I would be one of the first to do this as long as this is acknowledged by the State!! The students would have to have a chat room to communicate with to help those parents who think that interaction with others is a factor for them. In this way, the boards that students would post their work is listed with other students to keep interaction in tact and also make sure they are working as teams when necessary. If anyone in their right mind has ever taken distance learning over the internet, they would see things so much more differently.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 03/30/08 - 02:12 pm
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What do you mean exactly by

What do you mean exactly by that DeborahElliott2 on your last sentence? It sounds funny, not sure what you meant, sounds like you are for it but the last line confused me lol I would love different input on these classes from those with experience with them. My sister does one of those online business classes and she has a problems with the teacher and the way she conducts it regularly, but I'm guessing it would be a little different and better supervised with the state, not sure of the credentials of her course.

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 03/30/08 - 04:39 pm
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TakeAstand, I am for it! I

TakeAstand, I am for it! I have made deans list many times through my online courses and I put in about 6 hours of study time per day in which I can be more flexible with When I do it. I had a job when I had classes at the Augusta Tech, but they only dismiss 3 absences regardless if you are sick or not, and not flexible with work schedules. When I did take online courses, I had classes that I can log into for one hour per week and talk with a whole class at once, we had a board to post all of our work for the week with questions on a daily basis, and Yeah, a few teachers can get under the skin, but they have to grade fair or they can face problems. It's Fun!

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 03/30/08 - 04:43 pm
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TakeAstand, your sister needs

TakeAstand, your sister needs to have a teacher conference to get the problem resolved. If the teacher feels that not enough questioning is being done, then perhaps this is something easy for your sister to correct. I took my online courses at Kaplan University and they will never tolerate plagiarism. My credits can transfer to any college.

MyOpinion2
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MyOpinion2 03/30/08 - 04:52 pm
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Sounds like the future to me.

Sounds like the future to me. Imagine the money the state will save with less schools, busses, bus drivers, teachers, paper, paper, pencils, lawsuits, etc.

lezniack01
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lezniack01 03/30/08 - 06:24 pm
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I like what a few of you have

I like what a few of you have said and disagree with a few others.Iletuknow, you have to ask yourself, what kind of interaction do kids really get in school. Has it been a positive experience or a negative one. My own child is home schooled and has 4 opportunities each week to interact with other teens on a very positive level. There is no peer pressure, no drugs, no sex and no one telling me how to raise him. Not to mention the academic scholarships he has already won.

deborahelliot, they already have this in Georgia . Its called k12.Good program for anyone who just wants to get their kid out of the hell of public school.It is totally public school and run by the state,only you do it at home on line. No cost is involved.Check it out and tell me what you think.

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