HHS to offer online courses for on, off campus
Hartselle High School will offer online classes through the Hartselle Virtual Academy beginning this summer.
An open house introducing the HVA was held at HHS Tues., April 21 with HHS Principal Jeff Hyche overviewing the options available to current and prospective students.
Students will be able to take a wide variety of classes online either in school or off campus, including core classes. Home schooled or out-of-district students will be allowed to enroll in Hartselle High School without having to attend classes on campus. Off campus students will still be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities.
These self-paced courses will offer flexibility to students who need extra time or want to get ahead. Students can also take a class online for no credit if desired.
HVA will offer courses in the Plato curriculum from Edmentum that students can add at any point of the year. The classes will not have an assigned teacher, but courses will instead include multiple-choice evaluations, videos, written assignments and more to guide students through lessons.
Some graded assignments will be evaluated by a Hartselle High School teacher in a corresponding subject according to an outlined rubric from the lesson. Tests and exams for both in school and off campus students will be taken in a monitored classroom at Hartselle High School. The amount of monitored tests will vary by course.
Hartselle City Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Wilson said this new option will add flexibility of time Hartselle students have never experienced.
“From the beginning of organized education, the only thing that hasn’t changed is the time variable,” Wilson said. “But with HVA online classes, students can now learn at their own pace and at the place and time of their choosing. The beauty is in the choice. The Hartselle staff has really been thinking outside the box to bring these changes about, and I am very excited about what we will be able to offer our students.”
Hyche said the online courses are intended to help meet the needs of every student.
“HVA is really about meeting students where they are,” Hyche said. “Some students can utilize the online courses to take extra time on their classes since each Plato course is self-guided. Students can spend as much time as they need within reason on each class, even if that’s more than one regular class. These courses can also be used to get extra help or get ahead. Students can finish algebra one in a semester and move on to algebra two the next semester if they want. Down the road we could eventually have graduations in May, August and December like colleges with students finishing at different rates.”
Students must show responsibility when taking these online classes since they will not be overseen by a teacher.
“We recommend off-campus courses only for independent learners or those in unusual circumstances because of the discipline it takes to complete them,” Hyche said. “We know these courses will be much less structured than a classroom, so we have set requirements for taking courses off-campus. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and no expulsions or category one infractions in the previous year to take classes off-campus. The most successful off-campus students will be self-motivated adaptable learners.”
Despite the freedom of the HVA, administrators and parents will still have access to the activity and grades of each students’ courses. Students dropping below a 75 or falling more than a week behind will be required to take the class on campus until their grade improves.
Classes for the summer will begin June 8. Each class is $50, and out-of-district fees apply. HVA will also offer a number of classes through ACCESS, which are online courses with weekly schedules instead of being self-guided. Most of the foreign language classes are offered through ACCESS.
A number of courses will be offered, including core classes, electives and test preparation. Some courses not previously offered at HHS include African American Studies, game development, drafting and design, archeology, ASVAB prep and many more.
“We really hope these options will give Hartselle students an advantage,” Hyche said. “This is something we are all still learning about, but we feel it will help us grow and prepare our students. By no means does online mean easy. It’s not traditional, and it’s going to take a lot of dedication, but HVA will open up so many possibilities.”
The application for off-campus classes can be found online at bit.ly/virtualHHS.