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Posted April 16, 2013

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APS to Open Virtual School for Full-Time Students

The school will enroll 150 high school students at the eCADEMY location.

Yet another education option is scheduled to be available next fall, when Albuquerque Public Schools opens a new virtual school for students who want online classes full-time.

The school, which will be housed at the current eCADEMY but have a different name, will offer a “blended model” of online and face-to-face coursework under supervision of full-time teachers. Typically, lectures will be held online, with communication available between students and their teachers and peers.

Hands-on instruction, such as science labs, will require students to show up for collaborative work at the I-40 and San Mateo NE location. They also will have to take final exams in-person.

“This will be school on their schedule, not ours,” said eCADEMY Principal Dave Wells, pointing out that students will be able to choose from different days and times to complete in-person coursework. “For example, some kids are not morning kids,” so they can watch videos of lectures later in the day.

The school will start with 150 freshmen and sophomores in the fall, then add junior and senior classes over each of the two following years for a total enrollment of no more than 350 students. Students from anywhere in the district will be able to apply for enrollment and will be selected through the same type of lottery as the traditional transfer system. No date has been set for the start of that process.

In addition to the online format, Wells said the new school differs from traditional high schools in that it will run on 12-week trimesters, yet still be teacher-paced. Trimesters begin at set times and all assignments must be completed within the 12 weeks.

Students will have access to their teachers via text and message boards. As teacher-paced classes, students won’t be able to get too far ahead or too far behind. In fact, Wells said that students whose grades fall below 70 percent will be required to come to the school personally until they get back on track.

Though housed in the same building, the new school will remain separate from eCADEMY, which primarily offers online courses for high school students who need to make up credits before graduation. Some 2,200 students are enrolled in eCADEMY classes, but attend traditional high schools.

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