Six Washington County school districts installed video distance learning labs to allow their high schools to share high-interest electives and Advanced Placement courses with one another. Fort Ann, Hartford, Hudson Falls, Argyle, Cambridge and Salem share over a dozen courses such as nanotechnology, marine science, music theory and college-level Spanish using a recently updated Distance Learning platform.
“Districts like Fort Ann and Hartford were already busing students back and forth to share courses, and there was a great deal of interest in additional opportunities,” said David Ashdown, the Coordinator for Distance Learning at the WSWHE BOCES.
Through existing partnerships with SUNY Adirondack, increased numbers of students have access to college-credit bearing courses, as well.
Veteran Distance Learning Teacher Levi Cahan trained a group of teachers from Hartford, Salem, Fort Ann and Argyle on using the video system. "You don't have to change your teaching style over Distance Learning, you just have to get used to the technology so that the students receiving the class in other districts are fully involved in the instruction," said Cahan, who teaches agricultural science and equine studies over Distance Learning from Schuylerville.
Jason Groark, an AP psychology teacher from Salem attended the training. "Being able to expand and reach students in other schools, and to be one of the first teachers in Washington County to use this technology is exciting,” said Groark, who developed the AP psychology course in Salem.
“The students and teachers have really been impressed with the distance learning program and all its capabilities,” said Hartford Superintendent Andy Cook. “As a district, we are very excited to be able to expose our students to a number of new and innovative classes and to share some of our college and accelerated programs with other districts.” Hartford is currently sharing a college-level English class and a pre-calculus class with Fort Ann.
There are 20 districts in the WSWHE BOCES region that are sharing academic courses through BOCES Distance Learning.