St. Clair County’s seven school districts are collaborating with St. Clair County RESA and Michigan Virtual School to offer online classes to local high school students next fall through the LearnON program.
LearnON is designed to be St. Clair County’s portal to online learning, said Kevin Miller, RESA’s administrative services director. The classes will be taught by local teachers and administered by local educators.
“LearnON is partnering with Michigan Virtual School to give our students a better way to access online classes,” Miller said. “Most classes will be facilitated by local county teachers who know and understand our students, and students will register through their own high school counselors.
“An added bonus for everyone is that this keeps St. Clair County education dollars in St. Clair County.”
“MVS serves as a leader in the state of Michigan as a service provider, capacity builder and change agent in the areas of blended and online instruction,” said Kristin Flynn, executive director of Student Learning Services at MVS. “This partnership aligns perfectly with that role. We expect that this unique model of collaboration will attract other districts from across the state to form partnerships of this nature in an effort to best serve students with these expanded opportunities.”
Available classes include core subjects such as English and math. Other courses address less common subjects not typically available in most high schools, including a wide range of world languages and Advanced Placement courses. The expanded online options allow students to pursue a subject at the academic level that matches their skills and interests.
“This is one more way the schools are trying to accommodate the needs of today’s students,” said Garth Kriewall, RESA’s communications supervisor.
Although the program is not mandatory, the online courses will be available to students in the Algonac, Capac, East China, Marysville, Memphis, Port Huron and Yale school districts. Capac Community Schools already offers programs similar to LearnON.
“All the districts in the county realize that online classes are available, and it’s our job that they come from a trustworthy source,” Kriewall said. “They are the best classes available, and you can’t always say that for some of these online providers.”
Students will be able to see the online options while registering for their fall classes, which will allow school counselors more flexibility to help each student, as well as give students more flexibility to take a subject they want without sacrificing other preferred classes due to outside time demands from extracurricular activities or other home issues. Classes can be accessed at the student’s convenience.
Students can earn high school credit for completing online courses just as they would by sitting in a classroom, said Kreiwall. They can also interact with teachers and fellow students through the online portal, video chat and texting.
Teachers that chose to teach online will be trained for the different learning atmosphere and are able to maintain the class load they desire.
“We want to keep our teaching jobs and keep quality teachers working,” said Kreiwall.
“This is a win-win-win situation,” Miller added. “Online learning may not be right for every student in every circumstance. By keeping local control, LearnON educators will be in position to provide our students the support and guidance they need to be successful.”