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Cyber Education Makes the Grade

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — The Internet is shrinking the distance between home and school. In fact, lots of kids are taking classes from home, with their PC's. Cumberland County's new Web Academy is making the grade for all sorts of students.

High school students are using their home computers to take classes in everything from Algebra to English.

At seven o'clock at night, English Teacher Rhonda Mize is still hard at work. But instead of lecturing a classroom of students, she is emailing them from her home computer. Mize is one of 35 Cumberland County teachers teaching classes via the information superhighway.

Mize says, "This is good for the student who likes to work with computers and is good at that, and has a hard time socializing. But it's also good for the student who is a social butterfly and needs to be a little more focused."

Any student with the right computer is eligible. The program works well for disabled students, or students who have been suspended. Pat Jones asked her daughter to try it for safety reasons.

"I just felt like she's safer at home than she is in school," Jones said. "School is different now, too many undisciplined students."

14-year-old Cathy Jones likes it so much, she's considering going through high school using the Internet.

"I like it because of the pace," Jones said, "you can do it at your own pace, you are not sitting in a hard chair."

If the ninth-grader has a question, she can email her teacher or call the teacher at home.

She says she misses her friends, but still seems them at school for lab work and tests.

This is the first semester for Web Academy. Cumberland County is the only school system in the state, and one of just a few in the country, that provides full course work online.


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