A move to cut costs and make summertime instruction more efficient for students has led some districts to open virtual summer school technology centers.  Here, students can learn at their own pace, and take courses online from certified teachers.

During his sophomore year at Breaux Bridge High, Korey Louis and geometry didn’t jibe so he is revisiting concepts like translations and reflections, but in a class of one.

Virtual Summer School

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Louis is one of about 30 students taking self-paced, online courses in St. Martin Parish School System’s virtual summer school at the district’s virtual technology center in Breaux Bridge.

The school system launched the virtual summer school program in 2012 after years without a summer academic option for students because of low enrollment in the past.

As part of the program, students take online courses taught via lessons recorded by certified teachers. Students can pause and rewind the lessons as they need and move through the content at their own pace.

Virtual Summer School

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The program began May 26, and during the first week, the students were required to report to the virtual learning center for their coursework. For the remainder of the program, only middle school students are required to report to the center, while high school students may complete their coursework at home or wherever they want to do their lessons, said Kellie LeBlanc, program supervisor. Students must return to the center to take tests, she said.

The program is a bit different from typical summer school where there’s a teacher working on content for an entire class, LeBlanc said.

“The students are given a prescriptive test on the first day, and their courses are prescribed based on their deficiencies, so they’re not relearning the content that they’ve mastered,” she said. “This way they can focus on the content that they didn’t understand. We can customize lessons for each student based on what they need.”

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