“It’s kind of the wave of the future. Many college classes are offered online,” said Tom Chambers. “[The goal is] to offer advanced students more opportunities of enrichment that are above and beyond what’s offered here…We [also] hope to encourage students who are choosing to take online courses through other virtual schools throughout the state to come back and take those through Black River Falls.”
The classes offered at the virtual school will be classes that are not already offered at BRFHS. They are meant as a way to expand the academic horizons at BRFHS.
“It looks like it’s going to be for students who are advanced students, and it’s going to be for enrichment,” said Chambers. “Students would have a full schedule here at the high school, and then would enroll if they would like to fit in an additional course.”
Students who are considering a virtual class have a few things to think about. Can they handle independent learning? Are they going to have the time to continue learning after school? Will they be able to push themselves to get the work done?
“[Student requirements are a] 2.5 grade average, no failed classes the previous term, a full schedule, and they have to be someone who is self motivated and can handle the additional work,” said Chambers.
Most of the classes offered give students one semester to finish, and each class is worth half a credit.
Another thing the administration has been spending a lot of time thinking about is scheduling. The administration is considering many alternatives to the block schedule BRFHS has now.
“We have several models. We have the possibility of going to a traditional schedule with seven or eight periods a day. We also have the option going to an ‘A’, ‘B’ block, where you have block classes, you have four one day and four the next day that are different classes,” said Chambers. “A third option would be to have a traditional schedule where some classes doubled up, so they are like blocks, but most classes will be 45 minutes. So classes, like lab classes, we would double up those classes and the rest of the classes would be regular classes. Another option is to stay with what we have, but to increase the number of skinnies.”