High school partners with Virtual High School to offer 200 online electives

The public-private partnership is opening a range of classes that would never be available in a traditional classroom. But AZ school is moving slowly, offering the option to just 15 students.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

High schools looking to attract new students by beefing up their course offerings have a new resource — virtual electives, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

DNA technology, screenwriting fundamentals and criminology are some of the online courses being offered at Immaculate Heart High School in Oro Valley, AZ. These classes are made possible by partnering with Virtual High School, a nationwide online school with more than 200 online courses and one faculty member to teach an online course.

"How else could we provide 200 elective choices?" said Thomas P. Long, president of the private school. "We wouldn't be able to do that in a traditional course-delivery model."

Seniors will get first dibs on classes as enrollment is limited to 15 students for a participating school.

"We feel it is going to take a lot of self-discipline," Long said. "If there is a slew of kids we have to turn away, and the 15 kids who go in are very successful and this indicates a burgeoning interest, I think we would strongly consider expanding it immediately next year."

Teachers at Immaculate Heart hope the new electives will help students with future technology and communication skills from participating in online courses. And it will reinforce what students are learning in core classes.

"If anything, you're gaining leaps and bounds," said Cathy Middleton, associate director of institutional advancement at the school. "But you're also retaining and advancing core skills that you have to have to do well in the working world and college — writing, reading, analyzing information, being able to express yourself and communicating. As you take these courses, you have to get better at them in order to do well."
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