Community Stakeholders met recently at NMSU to discuss how they can help more students graduate from high school. One session looked at how Las Cruces Public Schools’ Virtual Learning options are helping more students graduate on time.
In the 2014- 2015 academic year, Over 900 students from across the Las Cruces Public School district were taking classes online, with 20 students fully enrolled in online courses.
Dr. Marcy Oxford, Director of virtual learning for LCPS, says if needed students can graduate by taking all online classes.
“We off all the high school core classes online,” Oxford said. “And a number of electives, a student could be fully online, take all of their classes in high school, all the 29 credits done.”
Oxford says they work with students and school counselors to decide if and when online classes are right for the student.
“Every student has their own unique story,” Oxford said. “So, we almost as many reasons that they need to take an online class, whether it is a scheduling conflict, an acceleration need, just an interest in taking a class in a different format. We do provide credit recovery for students. I have students that are home bound for one reason or another, can’t make it into school.”
Oxford says online classes are just as difficult as a normal class, and LCPS provides learning coaches in computer labs to assist students. She says online teachers also work closely with students.
“Online learning is very teacher involved,” Oxford said. “The teacher at the other end does form relationships with her students, even if she never sees them. We have the technology to put them into synchronized situations, whether its skyping or web conferencing, telephoning. I have a teacher, who part of her final exam in her class is an actual interview, in person interview with a handshake and everything.”
In order to help students who may have to work, or are taking extra classes to graduate on time. Students have the ability to take the classes on their own schedules.
“Yes, its best if they are in an environment where there is a learning coach,” Oxford said. “But, depending on the support they get from home, or their own motivation, we can certainly be flexible with when and where they take it.”
Oxford says students who are behind schedule in credits can use these classes to get back on track.
“We help a lot of students graduate,” Oxford said. “That probably would not graduate, at least not on time. So, we do provide a valuable service to the students in Las Cruces.”
Students also use the online classes to take AP courses, and give them time to participate in internship opportunities during the day.