The doors that technology can open for Peekskill students were pulled aside farther last week for the Board of Education.
School officials updated the board Wednesday night on the district’s growing movement toward blended learning, a combination of online work and traditional classroom activity.
Peekskill is one of eight school districts, including Lakeland and Yorktown, participating in “OC21: Online Courses for the 21st Century: Blended Learning for Westchester and Putnam High School Students,” through the Putnam/Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services. OC21 offered five courses during the current school year and is expanding to nine in 2012-13. One of the new courses, “Introduction to Anthropology,” will be taught by Peekskill’s Anita Prentice, who was included in a video shown to the board.
Joseph Mosey, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said guidance counselors recommended students they thought could handle this new type of learning and, despite some initial reluctance, “most did well.”
Students in the BOCES video said the online courses offered good preparation for college in terms of self-discipline and time management. Personal interaction occurs through online messaging instead of face-to-face but offers students an opportunity to get perspectives they might not get in their home districts. Teachers cited the wealth of information readily available online and noted that shy students often open up in the new environment.
Superintendent of Schools James Willis has an “admittedly aggressive goal” of offering all Peekskill electives and Advanced Placement courses online by the 2013-14 school year.