Courtesy Erka Cowger, Lyon County School District
In the spring of 2019 for the start of the 2019-2020 school year, Lyon County School District and its Board of Trustees approved and welcomed an expanded online distance education program with Distance Education Coordinator, Stephanie Nice. LCSD’s online distance education program, LyOnline (LYOL), was created with the anticipation of serving around 14 students in the 2019-20 school year – that number was quickly surpassed. Throughout the 2019-20 fall and spring, enrollment reached 212 students and finished out the year with 159 students.
LyOnline serves students in grades 6 through 12 who seek an alternative to the traditional classroom education. Some of the reasons students come to LyOnline is because they find themselves heavily involved in some activity that requires a great amount of time and would require a large amount of absences from school; they feel they work better at their own pace in online learning environments; their families choose to enroll in distance education for health reasons; they need an alternative to accelerate their learning or catch up; or simply because these hard-working students want flexibility to continue their 6-12 education while still remaining a part of LCSD.
The program functions as part of the LCSD schools, as students remain enrolled in the LCSD school they would be zoned for. Their classroom is just at their home or wherever they may find themselves. The Distance Education Coordinator and her team facilitate students through their distance education curriculum provided by Edgenuity and hold regular office hours and facilitate in-person meetings as the students need. The advantage of this setup is that students are able to create flexibility in their learning and participate in clubs and extracurriculars at their school if they desire.
As the 2019-20 enrollment in LyOnline far surpassed expectations, the program also saw a few seniors graduate this spring and receive their diploma. Prior to having a Distance Education Coordinator, students did not have the opportunity to be full-time distance education students. LyOnline has used the Edgenuity curriculum for years in LCSD schools as a way to help credit deficient students recover courses at the school site during their school day. With the creation of LyOnline and the Distance Education Coordinator, the program has become so much more than credit recovery – it is now a program for hard-working students who seek flexibility. Throughout the 2019-20 school year, about 310 credits were awarded with more than 600 courses completed – 97 percent of the courses completed by LyOnline students received passing scores. The Edgenuity curriculum and courses are all vetted by LCSD curriculum specialists who analyze everything that is used, allowing LCSD to continuously and proudly offer all students a quality education.