Online education in Clark County gains in popularity

LAS VEGAS - The first day of school for most Clark County School District students occurs next week. For some students, it doesn't mean a trip to school, but a trip to the computer.

The Clark County School District is expanding its online school options this fall to include middle school students. CCSD launched its virtual high school ten years ago.

Students must undergo all required immunizations and submit necessary transcripts to attend virtual school.

Since CCSD launched its virtual high school ten years ago, school officials say enrollment has steadily increased by approximately 14 percent each year.

Six hundred and 72 full-time students are enrolled this year. Approximately 4,800 students are enrolled part-time. Students receive their lessons and submit their homework online.

The middle school program is new, and CCSD is preparing for the fall semester.

"Our middle school is actually going to be an enriched model, so those students will spend some time getting some face instruction here on campus and working with other students - collaborating, doing some project base learning," said Jesse Walsh with CCSD's Innovative Learning Environment.

Some programs offer online school to children as young as five. Christina Ischo says her son Brandon attended online kindergarten and first grade. She says her seven-year-old did better online than in a large classroom setting.

"I could see he was crying out for attention," she said. "There were a lot of times I would come and pick him up, and the teacher would say he was crawling around on the floor. He should be the first child done with his lesson. He's always the last."

"I would say, 'Mom, I would rather stay here, ‘cause then that way, I don't really get bullied," Brandon said of online school.

The Ischo family is not alone. More than 90 percent of all parents whose children are enrolled in virtual school say they would recommend it to other families. Online education also works for families that can't always commit to the same school and/or teacher.

The teachers for online school have office hours for person-to-person tutoring. While CCSD offers online education, it is not free. The cost is $50 per course for CCSD students and $300 per course for non-CCSD students.


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