Aug 9, 2013 6:44 PM by Chris Welty

Virtual Classroom Helping Students Succeed

An alternative learning method is giving students in St. Martin Parish the opportunity to learn at their own pace.

It's called the Virtual Classroom. The district implemented the program last year to allow students an alternative to the traditional classroom.

When it was first offered, only 40 kids signed up, but by the end of the year, it tripled. This year, nearly 300 students are enrolled in on-line classes.

16 year old Jacqueline Fett graduated as a sophmore from Breaux Bridge Senior High. A gifted student who needed a challenge, she signed up for the virtual classroom.

"Once the opportunity arose, I enrolled to take a few extra classes because I'm more advanced," said Fett.

One of the benefits is she can set her own schedule and pace.

"I would work a part-time job and get on-line at 11, 12 at night working on my school work. It's just there all the time."

Kellie Leblanc, Virtual School Supervisor says, "There's a teacher in the box that they watch the video and take notes while she's teaching the lesson. They can rewind her, but not fast forward her."

Leblanc says on-line classes give all students the opportunity to work from home, but there are restrictions for testing.

"They have to come in here and take all their assessments to make sure it's that student taking the test."

So far, the program has had a high success rate, but Leblanc says it isn't for everyone.

"Students who don't work in that timing or aren't able to achieve those goals, we have to send them back to the traditional classroom," said Leblanc.

For Fett, the program helped her raise her ACT scores and enroll as a biology major at UL. Now, Fett is one of the youngest freshmen at UL.

Students enrolled in the virtual classroom are still considered students at their zoned schools and will receive a diploma when they graduate. Students can also still participate in extracurricular activities.

Chris Welty



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