The COVID-19 pandemic, and abrupt transition of schools nationwide to distance learning, has shined a new spotlight on the idea of online education as an option for schools and students.
As we live through a nationwide experiment in distance learning, we are clearly seeing that a quality education requires more than facts and curriculum. Effective education requires a personal connection with a caring, skilled teacher who has expertise not only in their subject area, but also in the skills needed to teach that subject area.
At the same time, some of our students are discovering that they enjoy the flexibility and self-paced format of distance learning. One thing educators have known for a long time: individual students have their own unique ways in which they learn best.
For these students who thrive in an online format, or others who are looking for supplemental coursework, Forest Lake Area Schools is excited to launch Ranger Online, a new program offering online courses for students in grades 9-12.
Ranger Online will provide the benefits and flexibility of online learning, combined with the personal connection of caring, highly trained teachers, and the ability to participate in a full high school experience, including activities and athletics.
As we launch Ranger Online, we want to be sure we’re getting it right. One thing that became clear with distance learning is that curriculum and coursework that works in a classroom does not automatically translate to an online format. In order to provide a quality experience for students, we’ll begin small by offering a handful of classes for the first year with plans to refine and significantly expand in future years.
In addition to flexibility with core courses, Ranger Online will also be designed to allow students to efficiently take prerequisite courses, so they can move on to more advanced learning. Ranger Online will also offer a pathway through the Forest Lake Area Community School for students to recover credit for classes they have already taken but did not receive a passing grade.
Ranger Online will also be open to students from other school districts who wish to take advantage of the classes. In some cases, a student’s home district will cover the cost of the online course, but families will also have the opportunity to pay for individual classes if they wish to do so. Ranger Online courses that are part of a FLAHS student’s coursework during their regular school day will not incur any cost to families.
Best of all, Ranger Online students have access to skilled, experienced teachers who can give personal assistance whenever needed, creating an online education model that provides the best of both worlds.
We are excited to launch this new option for students. Full details about classes and registration will be available by June with classes beginning in the fall. FLAHS students who have already registered for next year’s classes will have the opportunity to add or substitute a Ranger Online course in their schedule for next year. Information will be posted at the high school website at hs.flaschools.org as soon as it becomes available.