Launch of National Catholic Schools K12 Virtual
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CORAL SPRINGS, FL (JULY 16, 2009) - Cut-Backs, School Closings, Consolidations, Shifting Resources…. keywords we hear in the news each day with a sense of impending doom and hopelessness. The stress is not only for Catholic schools, churches and families, but for faith-based communities of all denominations, and families from many walks of life across this country, as individuals and entire communities try to address the issue of skyrocketing costs and reduced incomes. As identified in a July 2009 edition of The Florida Catholic of Miami, the economy is in such a state of flux, that declining enrollments, reduced numbers of children attending private and parochial schools is a frightening reality facing administrators and churches everywhere. The big question is ‘How can we continue to deliver a high quality Catholic education during these tough economic times without increasing tuition costs, and still remain economically viable with reduced revenues coming from shrinking Church financial support?’
Faced with school closings in the Archdiocese and declining enrollment at St. Andrew Catholic School, Coral Springs, Florida, Principal Lois Lawlor set out to find alternatives.
“We need to seek options beyond the normal way of doing business as a small parochial school. The issue at hand is to search for something that will generate a new revenue stream for the school, not put a band-aid on a system about to hemorrhage. Anything new has to be able to sustain itself, to become a source of income, not add another layer of debt to the existing financial crisis.”
While there are no simple answers, St. Andrew Catholic Parish has found direction from the words of Pope John Paul II as they have been able to “engage the modern Catholic culture” to launch Catholic Schools K12 Virtual, an online school system comprised of resources, academic, elective and religion classes, certified teachers and challenging curriculum for today’s Catholic student. Working with a number of experts in the field of online education, they have developed a two tiered model for online education; the virtual class and the digital classroom, blending traditional education and online learning.
Founded by Father George Puthusseril, the new Catholic virtual school system has at its core a mission to reach today’s young Catholics on their ground, to take the teenage obsession with all things digital, and use it to teach, to evangelize, and to minister.
“Using technology, we can bring high quality Catholic education to every family in the country. It may not be practical to build Catholic schools everywhere, but with the technologies available today, we can bring the excellence of a Catholic education to any family who wants it. Technology eliminates the physical or geographical boundaries traditionally associated with accessing brick and mortar schools,” says Puthusseril .
“Our core mission is to partner with existing Catholic schools so that they can extend their reach, and broaden their curriculum offerings without the added expense of staffing high end, small class loads. We offer a cost effective alternative for small, advanced classes, summer school programs, credit recovery, hospital-homebound programs, and many other options, saving schools the expense of running their own costly programs in the traditional manner. Students may sign up for individual classes, or schools may enroll entire classes or grade levels of students with us.”
Trina Trimm, newly hired Director of e-Learning for Catholic Schools K12 Virtual, is a veteran school administrator, with experience in both public and parochial schools.
“This is a new era for Catholic education. Students across the country are demanding access to online classes, to flexible schedules and to a wider range of course options. Our schools have a choice, they can embrace the modern educational climate, engage students, and grow, or we can continue to do things the way we’ve always done them and risk becoming obsolete. Or, as stated in the final report of the Notre Dame Task Force on Catholic Education, 2006, ‘Will it be said of our generation that we presided over the demise’ of Catholic Schools? I propose we take action now, incorporate the best of what we’ve traditionally done, and create a blended approach to teaching and learning in this digital age…a ‘bricks and clicks’ solution!”
Catholic Schools K12 Virtual offers school administrators and pastors a variety of services, a collaborative educational social network, assistance with long-term planning and goal setting, reviewing scheduling options and working with schools to see which of the various models would work for them.
“Not every school will want to use our teachers and our essential curriculum. The beauty of the digital classroom is in the ability to customize to meet the needs of individual schools and communities. We offer access to our online curriculum as a “digital classroom” for schools who want to have their own web-based presence. The “Virtual School in a Box” concept provides any school with a cost-effective way to bring web-based courses to their classrooms, using their own teachers and with the capacity to add their own resources and materials to their customized version of the Catholic Schools K12 Virtual program. All courses have been built to curriculum standards and teachers are provided with curriculum maps for every subject area,” said Trimm.
One of the problems facing educators as they witness the exponential growth of online learning is the gap within the educational community itself between the skills necessary for teaching in this new milieu and the professional training offered to teachers. The goal of Catholic Schools K12 Virtual is to provide a mentoring and collaborative forum for teachers and school administrators, building a legacy of Catholic educational resources online for the next generation of young educators, and creating opportunities for teachers to teach in an online environment. They can share resources with colleagues, and have the opportunity to apply for online teaching positions as classes become available, growing professionally in the online world. Catholic educators and community members within the CSK12 network have the opportunity to take online classes through a partnership with St. Thomas More College, Cardinal Newman Institute.
For additional Information Contact:
Catholic Schools K12 Virtual
http://www.CSK12.com FL, 33065 US
Trina Trimm - Director of e-Learning, 954 661-8582
online schools, virtual schools
Catholic Schools & Religious Education
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