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Virtual High School Expands Into New Mexico
Deming Public Schools becomes first Virtual High School Global Consortium member in New Mexico; solves need for accelerated courses for gifted and talented students at rural school.
Deming Public Schools has been looking at the opportunity for all students to participate in quality distance learning opportunities. Deming High School offers many AP courses in multiple areas, the courses being offered through Virtual High School will expand the number of courses students can take with the rigor and relevance that the school expects.
Like most districts in rural New Mexico, Deming Public Schools offers the only educational system in their county. With as few as 30,000 residents in all of Luna County, and the nearest communities 60 miles away in either direction, they struggle not only with isolation and limited resources, but also with widespread poverty. One hundred percent of their students are on free or reduced lunch, and the District must address the needs of a migratory population, language barriers, and gifted students.
One of the challenges that Deming faces is providing the curriculum needed to keep the students that have been identified as gifted at their middle and high school continually challenged and engaged. “Because of the size of our district and decreasing funding over the last couple of years, we aren’t able to offer as much as we would like to,” said Kakee McInturff, Gifted Advisor for Deming High School. “For example, we had to reduce the offerings of Calculus and AP Chemistry to every other year. Partnering with VHS is a way that we can immediately offer a more robust offering to this student population, and my hope is that we can eventually expand the offering to all students.”
Starting with the Spring 2012 Semester, which began on January 25, 2012, by being a member of VHS, Deming High School is now offering their gifted students an additional 150 different courses. Presently, five students at Deming High School are enrolled in courses such as AP Music Theory, Web Design: Artistry & Functionality and Criminology together with students in several other states and countries. Next year the classes will also be made available to identified students at Red Mountain Middle School.
Designed to supplement a school’s classroom curriculum, VHS is a non-profit, worldwide collaborative of schools, teachers and students. Students work in global classrooms with classmates and teachers with diverse perspectives, establishing relationships outside the boundaries of their local school. They learn together co-synchronously—
“Last year, we had a young lady who desperately needed Physics, but it was not a year to be offered,” said McInturff. “She was going into New Mexico State as an engineering major so it was important she have that class. It’s these kinds of students that we aim to serve with this program. The courses at VHS would have been an excellent option for her.”
Support for the implementation of VHS has been given by many parents and administrators. Mrs. Janean Garney, Principal at Deming High School, sees this as one more outreach to help students to achieve their goals. She continues to express her appreciation that Deming Public Schools supports alternative education environments such as offered through VHS. Ms. Dana Irby, Associate Superintendent of Instructional Services, states, “Deming Public Schools is always looking at opportunities to expand our students’ options to acquire skills and knowledge to help with post-secondary education or careers. Our students have participated in Dual Credit courses with Western New Mexico University, Dona Aña Community College, New Mexico State University, and Eastern New Mexico University. VHS is a vehicle to utilize technology to offer online courses that will meet the rigor, relevance, and relationship that we strive for at Deming High School and within the District.”
About Virtual High School (VHS)
Virtual High School is the pioneer of online course design and instruction for teachers and online education for high school students. Virtual High School partners with schools to provide rigorous, student-centered online courses that help expand rather than replace existing curriculum options. The VHS collaborative includes 676 member schools and more than 15,000 enrolled students from 30 U.S. states and 43 countries. The recipient of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) 2005, 2007 and 2008 awards for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices and the Stockholm Challenge 2001 Award for exemplary use of technology in education, VHS was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Maynard, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.goVHS.org or call (978) 897-1900.
Press Contact: VHS: Carol Arnold, Arnold Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, (877) 718-4604 x2.
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The pioneer of K-12 online learning and course design for teachers, Virtual High School (VHS) is a non-profit collaborative of high schools, middle schools, teachers and students.