Can’t pry your kid off the computer long enough to get him to school? Well, actually, you don’t have to. Enroll your computer geek in HISD’s Virtual School, which is run completely online.
Started under then Superintendent Rod Paige in 2000, Virtual School follows the regular HISD calendar and offers a full range of subjects. (Kids can even take seldom offered classes like Japanese or Latin.) Students are paired with counselors and teachers so they aren’t completely on their own. And protocols are in place to discourage cheating (finals are taken in person, not online).
Mark Grubb, program manager for the Virtual School says students can’t complete their entire high school coursework online, but for students who need to make up credits or want to get ahead, VS works well. “Some students want take some courses that might not be offered at their school. Plus, we have a wide variety of AP courses and foreign language courses,” he says.
It’s not cheap (classes cost between $200 and $300 each), but it is awful convenient.
Now, if they could just come up with something more cyberspace-ish than Virtual School. How about Steve Jobs High School? Or the Bill Gates Computers-Will-Make-You-a-Millionaire Academy? Servers R Us? The One-More-Thing-Rod-Paige-Stuck-Us-With Preparatory School?
— Olivia Flores Alvarez
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