It wasn’t going to be a happy story.
Jude Eschete was all set to graduate from a high school in Lafayette, Louisiana when, just days before the ‘big day,’ he learned that he was not going to pass a mandatory English class.
Sadly, Eschete put away a graduation cap and gown he had purchased months before. Crushed, he had to tell his relatives that the graduation celebration was cancelled.
Eschete went to work, waiting tables.
Fortunately, Eschete was about to get a big blessing while he contemplated going back to school to finish work on that one, last class he needed to get his diploma.
By chance, one of his customers, an employee of the Lafayette Parish School Board, told him about the eCampus distance learning program, which had been recently introduced in the parish.
Eschete enrolled. Now, he has become the first eCampus student from Lafayette Parish to complete getting a high school diploma with the program. His diploma has already opened the door to a better job, and he is even working on a college application which may open even bigger doors for this e-learning success story.
Eschete’s ‘but for the grace of God’ success story may not be much different from some that could be told here in Kentucky. While Kentucky has a similar e-learning program, called Kentucky Virtual High School, there hasn’t been nearly enough publicity about its availability. So far, as I reported in September 2010, here and here, participation has been very low compared to the potential need.
Kentucky needs to do something about that.
Kids shouldn’t have to find out about e-learning opportunities by chance like Eschete did. Right now, a Kentucky student can complete all the credits required for a regular high school diploma from home through the Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning. There are also other ways that students can sign up for digital courses that range from remedial level to advanced placement through his or her local school district.
With thousands of kids dropping out of Kentucky schools every year, the Bluegrass Institute thinks that virtual learning is badly under-used; but, as the story of Jude Eschete proves, this new approach to learning can save kids futures while providing Kentucky with a better educated, more employable population.
If you know a kid who could benefit from digital learning opportunities, and he or she isn’t getting good support from the local school district, let us know. We would love to help.
And, stay tuned for more on virtual learning in the Bluegrass State. We are going to have more to say on this important, emerging education technology.