School Board approves online course for graduation

Hawthorne Elementary gets STEM status

Jan. 15, 2013

Ryan Krohn, Waukesha School District's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction/educational accountability, said many positives can come out of the Waukesha School Board voting to require students take an online class in order to graduate from high school.

"We're seeing it as a way to provide exposure for different avenues of learning," Krohn said. "Universities have it and most jobs have online courses so we're trying to have a real readiness."

Krohn said, through the district's iQ/eAchieve Academy, the online courses can offer a full spectrum of courses.

The new graduation requirement will begin with the incoming freshman class in fall.

"What we're finding is that many more students like learning that way," Krohn said of students already takingonlineclasses with the district. "I think it will help in our learning process."

Krohn said the Kenosha Unified School District and the Cedarburg School District make online courses a requirement for graduation.

He added that with the iQ/eAchieve Academy, already in place, it provides "a nice platform for our district."

"It's opening the doors for a lot places," Krohn said of the technology. "It's growing in popularity in other states and teaches life skills."

He said students could complete the class in study halls or at home.

"I think it will change where learning happens and many students now are already utilizing it," Krohn said. "We call it 'anytime learning' because what's nice about it is that students can do it anytime."

Krohn said a number of teachers in the district teach online courses so he doesn't anticipate it to be a difficult transition.

He said close to 1,000 full-time students are already enrolled in the online school, iQ/eAchieve Academy. He said that figure will continue to increase in the future.

It was also decided at the School Board meeting that Hawthorne Elementary School, 1111 Maitland Drive, receive a magnet school status for focusing on STEM principles.

As a former principal of the Waukesha STEM Academy, Krohn relishes its science, technology, engineering and mathematics mind-set.

"It's project-based learning and really puts a huge emphasis on problem solving," Krohn said. "Hawthorne had a real readiness for it as they've done some early adoption of the program and came together as a team to aggressively pursue its practices and wanted to learn more about it.

"It's nice to watch that."

Krohn said Hawthorne already has put a focus on the STEM way of teaching in the last couple of years.

"Hawthorne has done a phenomenal job of incorporating the STEM principles and now this formalizes a partnership so that's great," Krohn said.

Krohn said not much will change in the school's approach, but it will allow them for "stronger branding and better partnerships that will provide students with other available options."

These options include the school having the opportunity to receive additional grants and exposure with specialty schools.


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