The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Sunday, Feb. 11, 2001
outlook 2001


Area cyber school is virtually open

By Sherris Moreira-Byers
Herald Staff Writer

School will soon be in session, but it won’t be in a classroom, and it won’t be in a building.

The Midwestern Regional Virtual Charter School will be open by July for students taking classes in their own homes.

A cyber school basically offers classes via computers. The idea behind it is to make getting an education easier for students who find the typical classroom setting difficult to learn in.

"Students would have to meet the objectives, which include meeting the required hours, and assessments of the software," said Union School District Superintendent Dominic J. Ionta. The Lawrence County school chief is president of the board of trustees for the online school.

Elementary students must log in 900 hours and high school students must log in 990 hours during a 180 day school year.

The role of teachers would be to monitor when students logged on and review their assessments, but they wouldn’t meet with the students, explained Ionta.

"Students would only check in three times during the year; at registration, mid-terms and final exams," he said. Students could still take part in their home school’s extra-curricular activities.

The curriculum covers the basics, including reading, mathematics, science, literature and writing.

The physical site of the school will be Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV’s office in Grove It is centrally located and the building is equipped to handle the cyber schooling.

"The charter school would provide the computer, the hook-up and the software, to be returned when the student is done," Ionta said.

The cost per student to begin with will be anywhere between $5,000 to $9,000 annually, which is covered by the school district the child lives.

The cost paid is figured out by a formula taking into account the school district’s budget, expenditures, and it’s annual daily membership, said Ionta.

"Our feeling is that the actual annual cost for the school will be about $3,000, which we’ll find out after the first year, then schools’ will be refunded any amount paid over that," he said.

The cyber school area covers Mercer, Lawrence and Butler counties, which includes 27 school districts, such as Seneca Valley, Karns City, Commodore Perry, Laurel, Ellwood City, Hermitage, and Mars, among others.

The cyber school board is made up of the 27 superintendents of the school districts in the tri-county area.

For more information, contact your local school district.

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