CHHS has ACCESS to state house

Published 7:36 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Charles Henderson High School and Zion Chapel High School were two of 11 Alabama schools to participate in a video conference with an Alabama Legislative Committee Wednesday.

The meeting was facilitated by the ACCESS Distance Learning program, which both schools participate in.

With Troy City Schools Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith on hand at the CHHS ACCESS lab, students gathered in their seats, each equipped with its own Gateway laptop computer, and viewed a large LG flat-screen television. In the center of the display was the image of the House Floor where Alabama lawmakers sat, and bordering that were slightly smaller pictures of the classroom of each participating school.

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The focal point of the discussion was the ACCESS program and while the students were certainly knowledgeable of it, some State Representatives and Senators wanted to know more.

State Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, asked students how the ACCESS program has allowed them to do some things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.

After being volunteered by a school counselor, CHHS Junior, Emily Melton was happy to give the Representative her insight.

“I wasn’t able to take AP History before,” Melton said.

“But with ACCESS I can and I’ve been able to increase the rigor of my course load.”

The principal of Vestavia Hills High School told State Rep. Mac Gipson Jr., R-Prattville, that he thought an international classroom was part of the future of learning, citing VHHS’s current programs with Wales and future programs with Siberia as examples.

State Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, directed his question directly to CHHS.

“I would like to know whether you prefer taking classes online as opposed to the traditional classroom environment,” he asked.

Junior Matt Pouncey was given the floor to field the question and gave an honest opinion.

“Personally, it depends on what class it is,” Pouncey said, also mentioning that he was enrolled in a German II class. “If it’s literary stuff I like ACCESS, but when it has to do with science I prefer to do things hands on.”

Students at Reeltown High School, just west of Auburn, attempted to answer a question from their representative but there were some technical difficulties.

“Bless their hearts, their wirings so old we probably can’t hear them,” said State Rep. Betty Graham, D-Alexander City.

The malfunction was soon fixed and RHS got their chance to respond.

The ACCESS lab is used during all periods at CHHS including a credit recovery period after school, when students can make up for any missed lessons.