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Legislation offers on-line learning to seated students



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April 09, 2014 - The state of Michigan is expanding on-line education to seated students, according to Oxford Virtual Academy Director Andrew Hulbert.

Under section 21F of the State School Aid Act, the State of Michigan is providing students grades 5-12 the option to enroll in up to two-online courses in place of their seated classes. The new legislation started in January.

While many school districts are scrambling trying to figure out how they're going to equip themselves in order to implement the changes, Hulbert said Oxford is fortunate that Superintendent Dr. William Skilling had a vision of what was coming in terms of virtual learning.

"He knew what was going on and was able to implement it," Hulbert said. "If we had not started this (OVA) in 2011, we would not be prepared for this today."

For districts that are not readily equipped to take on virtual online-courses, Hulbert sees opportunity for more students from other districts and around the state to sign up for online courses through Oxford.

"We have over 800 courses available to them. We really think it's going to open up their opportunity to really explore their interests," he said. "There are things we offer online that logistically you can't offer in a building because you don't have enough kids to staff it. An example being kids who want to take oceanography, now they can."

Skilling agreed.

"We are in the best position to leverage the 21F law," he added. "I do not believe it was well thought through by our government leaders, but it does provide Oxford with new opportunities to educate students from around the state and I believe we have the best virtual education program in Michigan."

In order to help "brick and mortar" teachers teach online, Hulbert has assembled a leadership team of current online teachers to help create a four month workshop process.

"We'll have people from here (the high school) and the middle school that are ready to take this on, in addition to the OVA staff that is already in existence," he noted.

For further information call Katherine Caron at (248) 969-5009 or e-mail Katherine.caron@oxfordschools.org

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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