Archive for Thursday, May 4, 2006

Basehor Virtual School plans to graduate 30 students this year

May 4, 2006

Since 1998, the year the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School was founded, 52 students have received their high school diplomas. This month, the school will reach a high-water mark by graduating 30 students.

"We're really excited about a great graduating class," virtual school director Brenda De Groot said. She added, "Our population, when we first started, was basically elementary school students ... Now we have every course a student would need to graduate from high school. Our population has changed to more secondary students than elementary."

The virtual school, a pioneer in online education and the first school of its kind in Kansas, offers an education to non-traditional students. Home school students, working adults and ex-dropouts seeking educational redemption are a few of the demographics that form the student body.

Like its graduation numbers, the virtual school has steadily evolved since its inception. Enrollment has increased from 60 students in the inaugural year to approximately 350 during the last three.

The teaching roster that once consisted of six teachers now stands at 35.

"Our first three years we were kind of establishing ourselves and finding our niche," De Groot said. Now, she said, "more kids are seeking an alternative to traditional education and, through our program and a multitude of others, they have options available other than a GED."

Virtual school graduates are eligible to participate in the high school's commencement ceremonies. Fifteen virtual school students will don cap and gown next month.

Graduation is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at Basehor-Linwood High School. School officials said the final number of high school graduates is still being determined, but that at least 110 students who attend classes at Basehor-Linwood High School will receive diplomas.

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