Officials: Summer school options limited for Horry Co. students

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Students considering summer school options will have a limited number of opportunities to receive credits needed to graduate, according to Horry County School District officials.

Nearly all classes this summer will be offered through virtual learning options instead of in traditional classrooms as a means of reducing personnel costs.

Edi Cox, director of online learning for Horry County Schools, says they are having to rely on the South Carolina Virtual School to provide the online curriculum and teachers for any students who need credit recovery this summer.

Cox says these types of courses have come a long way since she first started in the classroom more than 20 years ago. She says gone are the days of text books online with a multiple choice question.

"The student may or may not be able to see the teacher," Cox said. "[But] they will talk to them on the phone, they will email them through the course."

She says students will even be able to video conference. Despite the innovations, however, there are some reservations.

"It's very easy for all of us, but particularly younger people in the summertime [tend] to put things off," Conway High Principal Porter Kennington said. "That's very dangerous when you have a short period of time to get coursework done."

"It is a lot of discipline," Horry County Schools spokeswoman Teal Britton admitted. "You don't physically have that person walking around or reminding you as to what your responsibility is."

Cox says not all students will be best served through virtual courses.

"Students are different," she said. "A traditional classroom is not for every student. The same is true with an online classroom."

The question may now be: Will virtual schools be able to reach the students that have fallen behind in the regular classroom?

Regardless, educators say it looks like the virtual classroom in here to stay.

"With the economy the way it is and with our budget problems the way they are you're going to see more virtual classes offered to students," Britton said. "It's a way to make summer school more affordable for us."

Britton says classes will also be established Monday through Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. for current seniors who did not meet coursework requirements for graduation during the 2009-2010 school year. The classes are slated to run from June 14 to July 15 for $225 per course.

Students who exceeded absence limitations to advance to the next grade level will only have the option to enroll in Attendance School. Britton says students must enroll for a minimum of one week at their base school for a fee of $75 per week.

While physical attendance at a base school is needed to make up for absences or coursework requirements, students who need to retake a class will be able to do so online. Students who need to recover a course credit will be mandated to enroll in the South Carolina Virtual School.

Enrollment, officials say, is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any student or parent with questions on summer school options is advised to contact their base high school.

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