Summer school offers classes with technology twist

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Summer school is in session at Biloxi High this week.  But these days, the lessons don't come from a teacher.

"It's not your traditional summer school program.  It's all computer-based," said Vickie Cook, Biloxi High Summer School Administrator.

The students earn credits on-line by using PLATO.  It's a rigorous software program that teaches students the subject they're struggling in, gives them class work to complete, then a test that they have to pass in order to earn credits.

"It's a self-paced program to where if they finish next Friday, they're done," said Cook.

There are three classes: History, Math, and Science. There are a variety of subjects in each class.  For instance, in the Math class, while one student is taking Pre-Algebra on one computer, another student is learning Trigonometry.  Only one teacher is needed in each class to assist students.

"The traditional classroom would have been, if you had World History, U.S. History, 8th Grade History, then we'd have to have a teacher for each one of those three subjects.  Now we have one teacher. The software program does all the rest," Cook explained.

And there's another difference. Students who passed the first semester, but failed the second semester of class, only have to re-take the semester they failed.

"They get to recover their credit," Cook said.  "They don't have to go through the whole subject again.  They can just take the part they had problems with."

The summer school program also offers Driver's Education classes.

"So this way, they can use that time wisely in recovering another credit, or getting another half credit they might want," said Cook.

While the technology is different, the goal is still the same:  Help students who are falling behind catch up, so they can graduate on time.

More than 60 students are enrolled in the Biloxi High summer school program.  This year, the school also accepted students from St. Patrick High School and Harrison Central High School.  The classes end on June 30th.

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