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Fox Chapel Area expands cyber classes into middle school

| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Dorseyville Middle School students can enroll in cyber classes for the first time this year as the Fox Chapel Area School District expands its online program.

Traditional courses, as well as several electives, are now offered for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, said Randi Leonard, district technology coach and online learning manager.

“The vision is to extend educational services with anytime, anyplace learning through a variety of online instructional options and flexible scheduling for the district's current and externally enrolled students,” said Bonnie Berzonski, district coordinator of communications.

As of this week, there is one middle school student enrolled in cyber classes. Leonard said interest continued as the beginning of school approached and students can enroll beyond the first day of class, Aug. 27.

Fox Chapel Area Online (FCAO) builds on last year's pilot high school cyber program. The program grew from three students at the start of last year to a total of 11.

So far this year there are seven students enrolled in grades nine through 12, Leonard said.

Learning online doesn't translate to isolation, school officials said.

The online curriculum is taught by district teachers and offers full access to district programs and activities, Leonard said.

“Cyber students have a resource room where they can get academic support during the day and they can also contact instructors by email, phone or by appointment in person,” Leonard said.

In addition, the district offers six FCAO-Blended courses that are a mix of online and in-class learning.

These also are growing in popularity, Leonard said.

Students enrolled in online classes have full access to all sports, clubs and district-sponsored events.

“They may participate in and attend all Fox Chapel Area events,” Leonard said. “They are Fox Chapel Area students.”

For more information on FCAO, parents and students can contact their school counselor, Randi Leonard, at 412-967-2400, ext. 1722 or visit fcaonline.fcasd.edu.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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