USD 257, Greenbush team up to offer virtual ed courses



July 21, 2015 - 12:00 AM

Iola High School students will be able to learn through a new educational avenue starting in August.
USD 257 has teamed up with Greenbush, an Education Service Center, to offer a virtual learning program for students in grades 9-12 and adults within its district for the 2015-16 school year.
Superintendent of schools, Jack Koehn said students and families seeking online educational opportunities often have turned to outside programs because few school districts have been able to offer their own. The availability of virtual programs through Greenbush makes them easier to offer for any grades 9 through 12 or adult students in pursuit of a high school diploma.
Some students perform better in an online environment with more flexibility than in a traditional classroom, Koehn said.
The program will be a blended option. In past years students at Crossroads Learning Center did work online but had to be present at the Crossroads facility between certain hours. The new virtual program allows students to complete their work on their own time with help available on site a couple of days throughout the week.
“We believe that blending the flexibility of an asynchronous online learning program with the face-to-face supports of on site instructors will provide students with the best opportunity to be successful in a virtual program,” Koehn said.
Each student will receive use of a lap top computer for a $15 per semester technology support fee. 
With the recent disbandment of the Allen Community College adult education program the Iola virtual learning program can serve as another path for adults in search of a diploma. ACC’s adult education program prepped students to take the General Educational Development (GED) test. The GED is a one day comprehensive exam. Although Iola’s virtual program does not prep students for the GED it will provide adults the opportunity to finish their high school diploma.
There is not a “set list” for which students are eligible to take the program. Koehn said it will be up to IHS principal Stacey Fager and high school counselors to determine if the program is a good fit for a student who is interested..
“We want to do what’s best for the student and encourage them to seek counseling if this program is the best fit for them,” Koehn said.
First day of classes for high school students will be Aug. 27.

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