The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

School Districts - Danville

December 3, 2012

Danville Area School District studies cyber classes

DANVILLE — School district officials are researching what advantages district-sponsored cyber classes could bring to students.

“We’re looking into that,” said Danville school board President Allan Schappert.

Superintendent Cheryl Latorre and school board member Joseph Stemm also support looking into online classes as an option, Schappert said.

“There’s a whole host of reasons. Some kids just don’t learn well in a traditional classroom, there are too many distractions,” he said.

Parents in other parts of the country have used cyber schools as an option because they are worried about bullies. It could also provide an alternative for expelled or suspended students to continue their educations, or to provide basic-level instruction that doesn’t require the time of a teacher, he said.

Lessons that largely require memorization, such as multiplication tables, could be better suited for online classes so that class time can be saved to review more complex lessons and assignments, Schappert said.

Dawn Brookhart, Danville’s curriculum and technology director, agreed that a cyber program would help district students.

“It would certainly allow us to supplement our own curriculum,” she said. “It allows students to have a hybrid learning model.”

A middle school student, for example, who placed excelled math would not have to transfer to the high school away from their classmates, but could instead take more advanced math courses online, Brookhart said.

World language study could also benefit, she said.

Supplemental online courses could be completed in a computer lab or with a laptop at the school library, Brookhart said. Danville has just under 2,400 children in its school district, said Schappert, and roughly 40 to 60 each year attend cyber schools.

“We want to give our kids every advantage. We’re also cognizant of cost,” Schappert said.

In some cases, a computer-based class may be cost-effective as it cuts down on supplies needed by a teacher and allows an instructor to handle a larger number of students.

“The existing cyber schools have fallen far short of their promise, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad idea,” Schappert said.

Pennsylvania’s 12 charter cyber schools are “very poor, in terms of having their students reach AYP (adequate yearly progress),” Brookhart said. When the state cyber schools are taken as a whole, only 40 percent of their students graduate at state proficiency for subjects such as reading and math, she said.

A 13th state cyber school, Frontier Virtual Charter High School, surrendered its charter in July, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website.

Offering cyber programs could also increase Danville’s revenue by luring back students who had left for the web.

While the district is usually reimbursed by the state for each student who attends its schools, Danville receives no money for the students living in the area who attend cyber schools. Last year, those students attending online classes could have netted the district about $340,000 if they went to Danville, said Brookhart.

There is not yet a price tag on the project because it is still in an exploratory phase.

While Danville’s cyber program is still conjecture, it does provide the district with a fresh way of looking at education, Schappert said. “Sometimes when you think you’re in a groove, you’re really in a rut.”

Text Only
School Districts - Danville
  • xphoto30.jpg Danville high school band crowned grand champions at Music Showcase Festival

    DANVILLE — The first time proved a charm for members of the Danville High School Concert Band.

    April 30, 2013 1 Photo

  • xkeywin26.jpg Danville Key Club will battle at international event

    Winning Danville Area High School Key Club entries for volunteer hours and a scrapbook will advance to an international convention June 30-July 7 in Washington, D.C.

    March 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • science.jpg Fish handlers, plant testers reveal science fair projects

    Middle school students entered science fair projects ranging from training a fish to what factors affect plants.

    March 24, 2013 2 Photos

  • Pursuing a degree? Check here for scholarships

    More free money for those Valley residents pursuing higher education regardless of age. Applications are now available for Central Susquehanna Community Foundation scholarship awards for the 2013-14 academic year.

    March 20, 2013

  • xforens15.jpg Danville debate team first at National Forensic League district tournament

    With his team placing first at this past weekend’s National Forensic League district tournament, departing coach Mike Nailor is confident his students will be in good hands next year.

    March 14, 2013 1 Photo

  • State Board of Ed vote puts Common Core Standards in place for schools

    HARRISBURG – The State Board of Education today voted to adopt final-form regulations to amend  the Pennsylvania Education Code, putting into place the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards that requires students to demonstrate proficiency on a Keystone Exam or comparable exam in order to graduate high school.

    March 14, 2013

  • PA's Lincoln contest will give $5K to best high school speech

    HARRSIBURG -- The state Department of Education has extended the deadline to get into “In Lincoln’s Footsteps,” a speech contest that will award the high-school winner a $5,000 scholarship, among other prizes.

    March 13, 2013

  • Danville School Board to Review Teacher Union Negotiations

    The Danville school board will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 5, at the Danville High School to review fact-finding results from their negotiations with the district’s teacher’s union. The state-appointed fact finder has drafted a report with recommendations for both sides on reaching a settlement.

    February 28, 2013

  • pinkwg2.JPG Pink Wig Shows Stance Against Bullies

    DANVILLE – What did Matt Bloom think about his students singling him out to wear a pink wig and dye his beard pink?

    “It was fun,” said Bloom, who teaches English at Danville High School. He was chosen by his students to wear the wig and dye as part of “Pink Shirt Day” on Feb. 27, which raises awareness of bullying.

    “I’m just happy to support the kids,” he said. “A couple laughs at my expense, it’s definitely worth it for the kids.”

    February 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • Danville Forensics District 9 Champs Again Danville Forensics District 9 Champs Again

    DANVILLE — The Danville High School forensics team garnered 117 points to win the Pennsylvania High School Speech League District 9 Championship at the competition held at Midd-West High School in Middleburg recently.

    February 18, 2013 1 Photo