Officials from Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 are working closely with officials in eight other districts to create an online school under the umbrella of the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
The new educational venture, Southwest Colorado eSchool, will serve students in Archuleta, Bayfield, Dolores, Dolores County, Durango, Ignacio, Mancos, Montezuma-Cortez and Silverton school districts starting in August. The online school will offer students a number of opportunities not available in their home districts, said Re-1 Chief of Academic Services Lori Haukeness.
We are really trying to open the door for opportunities for our students, Haukeness said. The online school is going to give us the chance to offer our students more than we currently can.
The program has three components: full-time school, supplemental classes and credit recovery. Students can take advantage of whichever track they choose, whether they need to make up a math class they previously failed, take a course not offered in their district or take high school classes solely online.
The online schools purpose is to provide options for students in a changing educational environment, according to San Juan BOCES Executive Director Randy Boyer.
I think the district superintendents have realized they have got to participate in this choice option for parents by providing other structures and alternatives for getting a high school education, Boyer said. It does give students a greater option in selecting how they want to fulfill their high school years.
All nine districts have offered their complete support to Southwest Colorado eSchool, and all can gain from the new options, regardless of district size, Boyer said.
Small and large districts are both equally going to benefit, Boyer said. You look at a school district like Silverton with 66 kids, and it is challenging to offer those rigorous courses. We can supplement their course offerings. For the larger districts like Durango, we can help with credit recovery for their students who are falling behind.
Boyer said the goal is to open the online school in August with an enrollment of 100 full-online students, though the potential enrollment of the program is much larger.
We are probably looking at having as many as up to 1,400 types of other enrollments, Boyer said. We expect a lot of supplemental enrollments.
The school will be authorized to serve students in sixth through 12th grade, but the initial focus will be at the high school level.
District representatives and BOCES officials have yet to work out all of the programs financial details, but Boyer said students will not be financially responsible for most of the courses.
There has been some discussion around the credit recovery component and how districts will handle that, he said. There is the idea that perhaps a student would have to pay half the fees in the credit recovery portion, but we havent made that decision.
The program will be modeled after an online program in the Jefferson County school district, near Denver, and BOCES is currently in talks with JeffCo officials to purchase the service.
As with every educational program in the nine districts, students in the online program will have access to support.
We will have the support to help them get through not only the academic part of the program but some of the other social and emotional issues they may face, just like any other student, Boyer said. It is a really an exciting opportunity. This is the kind of innovative programming we as a group have got to work with and figure out how to make it a valuable tool for our students.
For more information, contact Re-1 administration at 565-7282.
Reach Kimberly Benedict at [email protected]