May 13 Work Session: IU High School Online and APEX

Huntington North Explores Additional Virtual Education Programs
Posted on 05/24/2024
Huntington North Principal Pat McLaughlin

On May 13, Huntington County Community Schools held a public work session to discuss potential new virtual education programs, including the IU Virtual and current Apex programs. The meeting aimed to address questions from the board and explore options to enhance educational offerings for students within and beyond the district.

Overview of IU Virtual Education Program

During the session, district representatives introduced the IU Virtual Education Program, highlighting its history and potential benefits for students. IU High School Online continues to develop its online education initiative. Over the years, it has evolved into a comprehensive online learning platform offering Advanced Placement (AP), dual credit, and honors courses. The program is currently ranked number one among online high schools in the United States and within the top four for national reputation.

The IU Virtual Education Program aims to attract students from various backgrounds, including those who are homeschooled or currently enrolled in other online programs. By providing rigorous and user-friendly options, the district hopes to offer a viable alternative to students seeking a high-quality education.

Key Features and Benefits

The program allows for flexible enrollment, enabling students to start courses at any time, independent of the traditional school semester schedule. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for students who may move into the district mid-semester or those with health issues preventing regular school attendance. The courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system, a platform already familiar to Huntington North students.

Students enrolled in the IU program will have access to licensed Indiana teachers who provide support and guidance through office hours and Zoom calls, ensuring they understand the coursework and concepts. The program's asynchronous nature allows students to learn at their own pace, with a generous completion timeline of 180 days per course.

Financial and Administrative Considerations

The cost for each course in the IU Virtual Education Program is $291 per semester, with textbooks and other curricular materials provided by the district. Despite the expenses, the district would benefit from receiving 85% of the Average Daily Membership (ADM) funding for each student enrolled in the program. This funding model would help offset the costs and potentially attract more students to Huntington North High School.

Current and Future Implementation

To assess the program's viability, one student is currently enrolled in the IU Virtual Education Program as a trial. The enrollment process was described as straightforward, with guidance counselors assisting in the setup. The board discussed potential applications of the program, including part-time enrollment for students who may benefit from taking specific courses not offered in-person at Huntington North.

Comparison to Apex Program

The session also compared the IU program to the existing Apex online program, which is primarily used for credit recovery. While both programs are asynchronous, the IU Virtual Education Program offers a more rigorous curriculum and additional support from licensed teachers.

Board Questions and Next Steps

Board members raised several questions about the program's structure, oversight, and integration with existing offerings. Discussions included the potential impact on staffing and course enrollment at Huntington North, as well as safeguards to ensure academic integrity and student success.

Director of Secondary Education Chuck Brimbury shared that this initiative is part of a broader strategy to provide diverse educational options for students. The board expressed appreciation for the detailed presentation and indicated that further consideration and specific proposals would be discussed in future meetings.

For more information on the IU Virtual Education Program and other virtual learning options, please contact Huntington North High School.

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