Students at Steinbrenner are constantly looking to boost their GPA; but with limited hours in the day, many turn to alternative schooling to gain their necessary credits, the main programs including virtual school and dual enrollment. These off-campus classes have had both positive and negative effects with students and administration as they have become more popular among upperclassmen.
One of the most common ways for students to receive college credit classes is through dual enrollment. Dual enrollment, also referred to as concurrent enrollment, is a program in which students can be admitted in two divided but academically connected institutions. Dual enrollment generally includes high school students that take college courses in addition to their high school classes.
“I decided to take dual enrollment to get a head start for college and to make my college applications look better to universities,” said sophomore Sarah Brown.
Many students use dual enrollment as a method to get ahead on courses that are required in college. Taking and passing these classes now means that students don’t have to take them in college and can also be very notable to colleges when looking at student’s transcripts.
“Dual enrollment is very beneficial because it offers online and on campus classes, but also a mix between them, which are called hybrid courses,” said Brown.
The choices that dual enrollment offers can provide convenience for students. Some students wish to take certain classes but aren’t able to be present on campus, so these students are able to complete the classes online. The options provided give students more flexibility when completing assignments because of the due dates and access to information, as well as attending their classes.
Another alternative schooling program is Florida Virtual School. Full time FLVS is predominately used by students that don’t go to a traditional high school but instead take all of their courses online at home. Aside from its homeschooling use, many students use FLVS Flex, the part time version of FLVS, to take certain classes that they aren’t able or don’t have time to take in school.
“I took some classes online because the curriculum was preferable and I was able to work at my own pace,” said sophomore Tatiana Gonzalez.
Virtual school allows students to work at a speed that works for them. The course material is sorted by units that have the proper information to complete each assignment students are required to complete. It also allows students to take their classes at a time that’s convenient for them. It also enables student that aren’t able to be present on campus for certain classes to take them once they become capable to do so.
Students who enroll in online courses have many of their own reasons for doing so, but one of the biggest reasons is stress. The stress among Steinbrenner students is partially due to the school environment but also the fact that the school feels over-crowded at times. By allowing students to take certain class periods off, they are given the needed time to get away from school and all of the unneeded stress.
“I was able to take AP Psychology because I took Psychology online the previous year as a prerequisite. This gave me the opportunity to take a more advanced class sooner,” said Gonzalez.
Many students are required to take prerequisite courses before they can proceed to the higher-level classes. Some students don’t have the opportunity to take prerequisite courses in school so instead take them online. They are then in a position to take the more advanced classes on campus. Although this is a positive for students, school officials are concerned about many things, including spirit and effectiveness.
With over 300 students leaving after fifth, sixth and seventh period at Steinbrenner, administration has seen the effects of the lack of upperclassmen at school. While guidance acknowledges that leaving campus early may help some students create a schedule more tailored to their preferences, it can become difficult when trying to schedule appointments and speak with students about necessary information when many have a partial schedule.
“It presents some challenges for administration because we have that many kids leaving… that only leaves me pretty much half the day to see the kids, it’s harder for me to get everything in sometimes,” said guidance counselor Stacey Blevins.
When students who are more involved in school activities leave before events such as pep rallies at school, there is less excitement in student activity because newer students are still learning how to deal with Steinbrenner’s environment. This doesn’t directly affect the students learning, but the view the students have on school.
School spirit is one of the largest affects that the administration sees in the school’s environment.
“On pep rallies and stuff there aren’t as many upperclassmen on campus, which means students are all-around less involved,” said Blevins.
Administration has always seen a positive and negative to virtual periods and dual enrollment. Students who leave early from school can help both themselves and their family by dual enrolling or participating in online classes. By taking the time off of school to learn in a different environment, students can free up periods of time for working or caring for other family members. But a main negative is the vibe and spirit the school has, which is drastically changed when students start to go off campus.
“I have been planning on dual enrolling and taking online courses for years because I always felt like it gave me a chance to work at my own pace and still learn the same or more than I do in school,” said Gonzalez.
Taylor Snow // Backpage Editor
Elena Melikian // Staff Writer