eLearn 21 Program Saves Schools Thousands through Online Courses
(Schnecksville) – The demand for online, technology-assisted learning is on the rise across the nation. While school districts strive to maintain fidelity in all their educational programs, they are challenged to meet federal and state mandates in the face of “fiscal cliffs”, sequestration and “flat” educational funding year after year. Technology-assisted programs offer the greatest promise to maintain program integrity while balancing tight budgetary constraints.
In response to this need, the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit has adopted the eLearn 21 Virtual Learning Program. Through this program, school districts are able to integrate technology with traditional modalities of learning, bolster their program of study offerings to include online courses they otherwise would not be able to offer, and provide school choice for families who wish their students to learn in a virtual rather than a traditional “brick and mortar” school environment. There are currently five school districts in the Carbon and Lehigh Counties using eLearn 21, saving them close to $100,000 this year alone.
Dr. Elaine Eib, Executive Director of Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit, comments on eLearn 21. She speaks as one of the original contributors of the CAOLA Program (the original “parent” program for eLearn 21) while she served as Superintendent in the Harrisburg region. “Our school districts have been able to recruit their own students who migrated to cyber charter schools back into their home school using eLearn 21. Additionally, having eLearn 21 as an option has prevented future students from migrating to cyber charter schools. This preserves a school district’s enrollment and keeps a school’s average daily membership (ADM) cost per pupil dollars in their own schools. It is a win-win for the school district and for families.” Advanced Placement and Honors courses are also available.
The participating students in the eLearn 21 Program are also eligible to participate in social and extracurricular activities in accordance with local school district policies and graduate from their local district; the latter is not an option when students attend a cyber charter school.
Dr. Eib explains that the eLearn 21 Program goals include; “Expanding school’s program of studies, bringing unique courses—such as Chinese—to school districts that otherwise could not afford to hire staff to teach such subjects, modernize educational delivery, provide alternative education opportunities for students who are unable to physically attend school or have been removed from school and persuade charter school students to return to the home school.”
During the students’ time in eLearn 21, the Teacher Mentor monitors student progress so that they achieve their academic goals. Graders, Live Instructors and Tutors help to instruct the students and give them feedback on performance.
“Education is changing at a rapid pace and instructional delivery using virtual and distance learning platforms are the way in which education is evolving. It is my deep desire that we as educators remain on the cutting edge of best practices, progress and innovation and lead this change,” said Dr. Eib.
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About eLearn 21
The eLearn21 Virtual Learning Program provides students with engaging, high quality curriculum. The courses are customized to fit their needs, while teaching valuable technology skills that are essential for success in the 21st century. The purpose is to increase the options available to students in Carbon and Lehigh counties. The administrative support of the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit (CLIU) and the quality, flexible nature, and diversity of available courses allows the IU and our school districts to offer programs that meet an extraordinary variety of student needs. This includes but is not limited to: a) full-time cyber school and single course options; b) on site and remote classes; c) unique STEM and foreign language courses; d) credit recovery, summer school and advanced placement. The program services students with disabilities that can be served in an online environment. Students with jobs and family obligations can create flexible schedules. Instruction can be provided for students with health issues, preventing them from missing significant class time. http://elearn21.cliu.org/