The Cherry Creek School District will open an online high school in August 2019 and Principal Kristy Hart can’t wait to welcome her first students.
“The sense of urgency is there because the need is there and that is really exciting,” Hart said.
The school will have a physical space at a still-to-be-finalized location and will serve between 200 and 250 full-time students in ninth through 12th grade, as well as some part-time students who are also taking traditional classes at their home high schools. Hart expects the student body to comprise a diverse group of learners.
“Our full-time students are typically students for whom the traditional brick and mortar setting just isn’t working,” she said. That could include students who are at risk and need an alternative school setting, students who are working full- or part-time jobs, as well as elite athletes who are in training and homeschool students whose parents aren’t comfortable teaching some subjects.
“We will also serve students who’ve had traumatic experiences and students with serious medical or mental health needs,” Hart added. “We will have a deep support system for mental health and special education.”
Full-time students will find that attending the CCSD Online High School is a very personal and personalized experience.
“Every full-time student will have a personalized learning plan where we sit down and we talk about their strengths as a learner and we build on those strengths,” Hart explained. We also talk about their weaknesses and we program to support them so every kid is going to get a personalized approach to what they need.”
The district’s existing Online Learning program will be incorporated into the school, to give students a full range of core and elective classes, including Advanced Placement and concurrent enrollment classes, all taught by CCSD teachers. Those teachers will hold synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded or independent) instruction throughout the week and there will be additional opportunities for one-on-one and small group support, both virtually and in person. In addition, students can participate in activities and athletics at their home high school if they’re looking for that aspect of the traditional high school experience.
“Sometimes people make the assumption that online education is somehow less than traditional, or that something is wrong with you if you can’t make it in traditional school and that’s simply not true,” Hart said. “It’s not less, it’s just different. Everything that you do in a traditional school you do in an online school, it’s just delivered differently.”
The Online High School course catalog will be available online and through high school counselors by the end of 2018 so potential online students can start planning before high school registration begins next spring.
The school is also seeking suggestions for a name for the new school. If you have an idea, submit it using this Online Naming Form. Suggestions will be considered by a committee and submitted to the Board of Education which will make the final decision.