In response to a bill recently passed by the Alabama State Legislature requiring virtual options for high school students by the 2016-2017 school year, Athens City Schools is moving to provide a new virtual education option for students across the state. Opening in time for the 2015-2016 school year, the Athens Renaissance School (ARS) is a full-time online and blended public school for students in grades K–12 who can benefit from a flexible learning model.
For the new school, Athens City Schools partnered with Fuel Education™ (FuelEd™) for its catalog of standards-based online courses that will be taught by both Athens City Schools teachers and FuelEd’s certified teachers, who are accredited and trained to deliver instruction in an online environment. FuelEd’s technology platform and tools allow administrators, teachers, students, and their families to view data in real-time and track each student’s progress.
ARS will also have a blended option where students can visit the school’s dedicated facility to work face-to-face with teachers. All students will be required to take the same standardized assessments as students enrolled in the City’s traditional brick and mortar schools. In addition, ARS students will have opportunities to participate in student government, honor societies, and various clubs. Students who wish to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities can do so at their local schools—no matter where they live in the state of Alabama.
“The Alabama State Legislature, Superintendent, and Board of Education recognize that there are thousands of students who can benefit from a personalized learning environment that is outside of the traditional school model,” said W.L. ‘Trey’ Holladay III, Superintendent of Athens City Schools. “Our goal for Athens Renaissance School is to leverage the power of online and blended learning to provide more of these students, and their parents, the opportunity to find the very best model in which they can excel academically.”
Holladay says ARS is best suited for students who are independent thinkers, may not fit into the traditional school model, and have parents who are highly involved in their education. It is also for students with specific family or medical needs, as they can complete lessons or coursework in any location with Internet access and during times of the day that work with their changing schedules.