ACCESS program meets needs of students
Published 3:00 am Friday, February 27, 2015
ACCESS took center stage on Thursday as university, state and local educators gathered in Troy to learn more about the successful virtual high school program in place here.
Officials from the Alabama State Department of Education, Pike County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell, Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins and several Pike County educators came together Thursday afternoon in the showcase of ACCESS Distance Learning Support Center’s facility and programs.
ACCESS, Alabama Connecting Classrooms Educators, and Students Statewide, facilitates Pike County Virtual High School with online classes, taught by state-certified teachers.
“Through ACCESS, we have the kind of flexibility to make (Virtual High School) programs happen,” Bazzell said.
According to Hawkins, the successful institutions in the future would be those that combine high-touch and high-tech aspects. “The global forces, with high technology in education, create new paradigms,” Hawkins said.
There has been great progress since the students in Pike County began logging in their first Virtual High School classes last August.
According to Jodie Jefcoat, the facilitator at Virtual High School computer lab at the Troy University Extended Learning Center, the programs are offering more than 90 classes through web-based instruction.
“The program has been very rewarding for me to be a part of this innovative program,” she said.
“Even though this is our first year, we have helped many students to get back on track and overcome the setbacks they have had in the past.”
More than 50 students from Pike County High School and Goshen High School are participating in Virtual High School
After almost two semesters into the program, 75 percent of student in the credit recovery path are on track to be caught up with their cohort, Jefcoat said.
“About 10 (students) are graduating this May who would not be able to otherwise without this program,” she said.
Pike County Virtual High School offers not only the credit recovery path for students who are behind with their schoolwork but also the accelerated path with advanced courses.
Students in the accelerated path are dual enrolled at Troy University either in the Global Studies Academy or in the Aviation Academy.
“We have almost like a (student) waiting list for the programs,” Jefcoat said. “This shows that there is a need for the services we provide. We are meeting the need in our education system.”
Jefcoat said she anticipates the programs to be growing in the future. Students can talk to their school counselor about the application process to Virtual High School.