Owasso Students Enrolling In 'Virtual' High School

Wednesday, September 1st 2010, 5:06 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley & Terry Hood, The News On 6

OWASSO, OKLAHOMA -- Dozens of students in Owasso are taking advantage of the World Wide Web to get their education.

Owasso Public Schools is in its second year of offering a virtual high school where students take classes online.

"Right now I'm working on a vocabulary assignment for my chemistry class," said Emily Locker, a student.

Emily is taking four classes this semester. She's one of 63 Owasso students enrolled in the district's virtual high school.

It's an alternative for students who either have a difficult time in a traditional classroom or have been barred from school grounds.

Emily was born with a medical condition that makes it difficult to move from classroom to classroom.

"If I'm going to school every day I get really worn out really easily and so I would miss a lot more school if I was going full time," she said.

More than 1,800 students across the state took online classes last year.

"Students, families we're migrant, we're moving around. They want that flexibility in their education," said Margaret Paul, with Owasso Public Schools.

Margaret Paul, who is in charge of Owasso's virtual high school, says there are safeguards in place to make sure the student actually does the work.

For example, the student meets once a week with a teacher and all chapter and semester tests are taken at the school with a teacher present.

"It's a very real education," said Sarah Locker, Emily's mother.

Sarah said she's noticed a big difference since her daughter started taking virtual classes.

"She's a lot happier and a lot more relaxed," she said.

Emily agrees. Online classes, she says, have given her confidence and helped her stay on top of her schoolwork.

"It's a lot nicer than I had expected," she said. "It's a really great system."

Emily also takes two classes a day at the high school. Administrators in Owasso encourage interested parents to contact their districts administrative offices to see if they offer virtual classes.