Summertime is computer time for some students

All over the country, school districts are developing self-paced, online summer school programs. Students who enroll in these programs are either intending to graduate early or are in danger of not graduating if they don't make up a class.

The new hot thing for summer is — online summer school. In Mississippi, over 600 students have signed up for one of 12 free online courses being offered through the state Department of Education's Virtual School,Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger reports.

And Mississippi is not the only school district jumping on the virtual summer school bandwagon. All over the country, school districts are developing self-paced, online summer school programs. Students who enroll in these programs are either intending to graduate early or are in danger of not graduating if they don't make up a class.

Wilson County, Tennessee had been without a summer school program for several years until a $100,000 state grant funded virtual classrooms and the new online summer school. The online school replaces the traditional summer program altogether, according to The Tennessean.

Greg Thompson, a student at Watertown High School who plays football and works in a local restaurant, had a failing grade in English. Since he enrolled in an online English class, he can maintain a decent GPA. and continue all his other activities.

"On the computer, you can take your time. They'd be going too fast in classroom," he said. "Plus, if you don't finish then, you'll still have time to finish later." said Thompson.

In the online classes, students are assigned all their reading and writing lessons. They have deadlines throughout the course to keep them on track. Classed can have interactive discussions with other students by posting comments on forums.

Online schools are also succeeding in Kansas, where Lawrence Virtual School is one of 16 virtual schools helping students finish incomplete coursework. Already, the school has filled 360 of the K-8 slots and 55 of the high school slots, reports Lawrence Journal World.

“This is another way the virtual school is creating options for kids,” said deputy superintendent Bruce Passman. “It’s a good thing because once a students gets behind, it’s difficult to catch up. This allows them to go at their own pace and with a support staff. It’s another learning extension for kids.”

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