Online education programs offer alternative for students, savings for districts
BY BRITNEY MILAZZO (CenterDaily Times)
BELLEFONTE — Maggie Koon was afraid that if the Bellefonte Area School Districtdidn’t offer an alternative education program, she wouldn’t finish school.
The 17-year-old Bellefonte Area High School senior moved to Bellefonte last year from Lewistown.
Without knowing anyone and hesitant to be back in the classroom, Koon was given information that she could study online instead, through the district’s BeLA program — Bellefonte eLearning Academy.
“I still feel like I’m getting a good, solid education,” Koon said. “I love it and it’s the kind of program that’s good for students who are bullied or not ready to be in school. … I met other students (in) the program who feel the same way.”
The program, which is open to students from fifth through 12th grades, provides an alternative learning style with parallel requirements for graduation — as if the student did classroom study, Bellefonte Area Middle School Principal Sommer Garman said. Garman helps run BeLA.
“It’s a full cyberschool through our district,” she said. “It’s become a growing trend in education, and we recognized that if students are interested in this type of learning, then we need to have it.”