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Local schools tapped for ACCESS programs

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle and Falkville high schools are among the sites selected to participate in a program designed to link classrooms across the state.
Both schools are part of the latest phase of the state's ACCESS (Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide) program. The program allows students to participate in classes throughout via videoconferencing and web-based instruction. It also allows for Hartselle and Falkville students to take electives and advanced placement courses that aren't offered at their schools.
"In just two short years, we will have established 21st century ACCESS sites in 170 out of approximately 400 high schools," said Dr. Melinda Maddox, Director of Technology Initiatives for the Alabama Department of Education. "If ACCESS Distance Learning is funded as requested for the next two years, by 2010, ACCESS Distance Learning will be able to provide a 21st century distance learning classroom for every Alabama high school and serve 45,000 students statewide."
Hartselle and Falkville students will have access to more than 50 web and video classes. In addition to advanced placement classes, students will also be able to make up loss credits in an aim to keep them on track for graduation. Help in science, math, language, reading comprehension and social students, all topics covered on the Alabama High School Graduation Exam, is also offered.
Both schools will receive $85,000 to establish the program. Part of that money will go towards establishing the high-speed network needed to support the classes.
This is the third phase in the ACCESS program, adding 100 new schools with a total cost of $8.5 million. The state plans to spend some $20.3 million on the ACCESS program this year.
The ACCESS program began with 24 pilot sites in 2006.