Classrooms Without Borders: Jayme Ferguson of K12 Inc. Speaks About Online School Programs
Some students may one day find that brick-and-mortar education no longer works for them. Whether this is a result of health concerns that prevent the child from attending school, parents dissatisfied with local school choices, or another circumstance, K12 Inc. seeks to change the way students engage in public school.
We spoke to Jayme Ferguson, a K12 representative based out of Dallas, Texas, about what the K12 program provides for students. A former educator and homeschool mom, Ferguson sees the benefits of using the web-based K12 program for all types of students.
“It features real lessons, taught by real teachers. There’s accountability but also flexibility with the program, which helps with students who may have to have medical treatments or students who choose to pursue other goals,” said Jayme.
“There’s one graduating senior who has chosen to pursue a music career, and the freedom K12 brings has allowed her to do that.”
While the website, which is supported by Blackboard Collaborate, is free for students enrolled in public school programs, homeschool parents may either supplement their own curriculum or use it as their entire curriculum.
“The best part is that we supply all the materials to you,” said Ferguson.
“We will send a paper textbook to the student, as well as certain supplies for science projects. There is one lesson where the students dissect a chicken wing and sorry—we won’t provide the chicken wing for you!”
Although the lessons can be done at home, don’t assume the children using them are isolated. Ferguson states that fun monthly gatherings are key to the program.
“There will be a gathering in a large town, and everyone can drive to a fun location to get to know each other. A teacher will come to the outing and, even though they may not see all their students, they can connect with them.”
K12 is a nationwide program with dedicated, certified teachers in each state creating student success. Grade levels vary by state, and, like any public school, there is a short list of requirements that are available on their website. The main requirements for this school, though, seem to be a student’s drive, independence, and Internet connection.
Christine Hagen Young is a freelance writer, podcaster, and filmmaker in Austin, Texas. Having previously worked in education, she is currently pursuing her passion for storytelling. She spends her free time obsessing over pop culture from yesteryear.