HH virtual learning going strong

CADIZ — The Harrison Hills City School District’s board of education heard a report on the continuing growth of the district’s online virtual learning academy.

Intervention Specialists Robert Richards and Adrienne Cook reported 32 students are currently enrolled in OVLA, with more interest and inquiries being made.

“I’m getting two or three calls daily. It’s amazing,” Cook said, adding that they also have four open enrolled students from other districts.

“It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it,” she said. “For some kids this is their last chance to get their diploma.”

In addition, there are several younger children or children with special needs who were not coping in a school setting. She said one student with autism is doing very well.

Richards said their Google campaign has yielded more than 800,000 views.

“Every day we’re getting close to 20,000 views. It’s a really successful campaign,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of interest.”

They also have a Twitter and Facebook page and a Youtube channel. They have also ran commercials for the virtual learning academy.

Students have participated in weekly question and answer sessions, viewer mail and walkthroughs.

Since launching the class Aug. 31, they have fielded questions about class procedure and policies from students new to the venue as well as those with experience in online learning. The students have voiced appreciation for the ability to work at their own pace according to their own schedules. They also note the wider selection of classes.

Students taking the classes include some who wish to graduate early and some who had considered dropping out, as well as others with medical issues. The virtual learning academy covers grades one through 12, with the majority of students in the 10-12 range. Cook noted students in this range are in the most danger of not completing school.

In addition, Cook said many students have complimented the personal attention provided by educators despite the distance-learning format.

Richards added that they would like to include additional electives as well as fields such as forensics and biology.

“This is a way to keep them in and keep them going for that diploma,” said Cook.

She noted that students were happy to learn they would still be part of the district and able to participate in extracurricular activities and graduation.

Also, she added that the district has received interested calls from Columbiana, Columbus, Dayton and Akron.

“It’s blossoming more than I thought. We are very excited and very pleased with it,” she said.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com