Gardner views online program

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Rep. Keith Gardner was able to obtain $50,000 for the online courses at Portales High. On Wednesday, he took a tour of Portales High School and watched a presentation to learn more about the investment he lobbied for.
Gardner was able to attain $50,000 through the Legislature for the program. He said the $50,000 will be given annually, but could be eliminated in future legislative sessions..
Gardner was impressed with the presentation and the online courses.
“Many students work,” Gardner said, “and this will give them the opportunity to experience the real world and realize they need to get an education.”
Portales High School will offer online classes in August so students can take core classes, such as English, math, science and history from home.
Portales High Principal Melvin Nusser has stated the online courses are not for every student, and that many students will choose to learn through the traditional classroom setting.
Nusser said he has been receiving calls from parents with home-schooled children who would like to enroll in the online classes. Mike Rackler, director of technology, said 43 current PHS students have enrolled in the class.
Rackler said the teachers who will be teaching the class will be in training with the software, called Tegrity, during the summer. Rackler said students are not required to download software onto their computers, and that a web browser is all that is necessary.
Nusser told Gardner there are “safeguards” to make sure the online courses work for the students. During the first four weeks of instruction, students will be required to have two-hour sessions in classrooms on campus from Monday through Thursday.
Another safeguard is that if the student’s grade average is below 70 percent or has poor homeroom attendance in any class, then the student will be required to continue to attend two-hour sessions on campus. Also, the instructor or teacher can require the student to continue the two-hour sessions on campus.
Gardner, who said he went to high school in Reserve with about 23 students in his class, felt the online courses may allow students from rural school areas to take advanced courses.
Sen. Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) and the senate majority leader, Sen. Gay Kernan (R-Hobbs) and Rep. Brian Moore (R-Clayton) took a tour of the facilities in construction on May 19.
Gardner, R-Roswell said none of the $50,000 funding would have been possible without the work of Mike Miller, who lobbies for the schools, hospital, city and county in Roosevelt County.