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Leechburg Area School District weighs requiring online course

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 1:02 a.m.

Taking an online course would become a graduation requirement for Leechburg Area students under a proposal put forward by the district's administration.

Superintendent James Budzilek said he is not aware of any other district that requires students take an online class to graduate.

Pennsylvania does not require it, he said.

Budzilek told the school board Wednesday that having the requirement would be a “logical step” for the district. With webinars becoming common in the business world, students need to be exposed to online learning, he said.

“In my opinion, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages,” he said.

Budzilek said students could use online courses to explore a subject of interest to them.

Where there has been a concern with students spending too much time in study halls, students could use that time for the classes, using computers in the district's labs, library and classrooms, he said.

Although students could take the courses at home, the preference would be for students to take the courses in school, supervised by district staff, Budzilek said.

The idea seemed to meet favor with a majority of the school board, although member Carlotta DelVecchio did not like the idea of putting the online course requirement into the already existing senior project.

DelVecchio said the courses would need to be appropriately rigorous, and that the idea warrants further talk.

“It's exciting,” she said.

If approved, which graduating class would the first to have to fulfill the requirement hasn't been decided.

Budzilek said he'd like to see the board take action on the proposal by February.

In other business

• The school board approved the formation of a scholarship in memory of Samantha Smith.

Smith, 19, a 2010 Leechburg Area graduate, died in a car crash Nov. 14, 2011 in Harrison that also claimed the life of Elisabeth Carney, 19.

The car Carney was driving crashed into a truck trailer parked at a towing company along the side of the road.

Alumni and students are heading the effort. Smith played varsity basketball at Leechburg, and donations will be accepted at upcoming basketball games.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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