Last updated: 09.11.12

Wauwatosa district could launch e-learning schools

The Wauwatosa School District in the US state of Wisconsin could begin rolling out new virtual learning environments. In a presentation made to the School Board on Monday (November 5th), district administrator Ed Mahony outlined cases of students in the area - taken from a study of 50 - who have signed up to online courses and their reasons for doing so, as well as whether they were successful or not, Wauwatosa Now reports. Many pupils applied for digital learning in order to counteract conflicts on their timetable, regain lost academic credits or because of medical conditions that stopped them from going to school. According to Mr Mahony, virtual learning allows those who have previously struggled with lessons to do well, while others prefer access to both online material and face-to-face help from a teacher at the same time. Therefore, he added, the creation of a hybrid model that combines traditional teaching with digital education could bring numerous benefits to students. Many School Board representatives are supporting Mr Mahony's suggestions and West High School principal Frank Calarco stated the philosophy at his institution "is to give students choices", while he has also "seen [virtual learning] first-hand already working". Members Lois Weber and Mary Jo Randall also welcomed the plans, adding they would provide individuals with another way of achieving academic success and that accelerated classes offer great potential. Currently, certain students can receive free enrollment into online institutions outside the district, such as the Wisconsin Virtual School or the Advanced Learning Academy of Wisconsin. However, those who do not qualify for the funding must enrol privately in online schools, which they have to pay for themselves. Board member Phil Kroner was quoted by the news provider as saying he would have to consider the option carefully, adding: "Some students were leaving us and going to other districts. So to counter this we're [creating a virtual school] to take students from other districts."