Newly available class offer variety of dual-enrollment and AP options

LEROY - To increase advanced options for high school students and address discrepancies in scheduling, the Pine River School District Board of Education approved the addition of two online learning programs at its Monday meeting. A catalog of course offerings through Michigan Virtual High School and Brigham Young University online is now available for high school students who want to take a course that is not offered at the school. The district currently does not offer any Advanced Placement classes. The online programs will make AP classes available. “If students want to go beyond required courses, we (usually) don’t have enough students interested nor do we have the personnel to teach it,” said Kim Miller, high school principal. “Now, students will be able to go beyond what we currently offer.” Online classes taken through the BYU program could be used as a form of dual-enrollment and give students university credit for completing a course. Pine River High School already offers students the option of dual enrolling on the campus of Ferris State University in Big Rapids or Baker College in Cadillac, but the option comes with strict scheduling constraints. “Our students who dual enroll go in the morning because that’s when it works the best,” Miller said. “But through BYU they could take the class any time and it will really help with those scheduling discrepancies.” Along with giving advanced students more options for learning, the new online curriculum also will help students falling behind, or those who have transferred from another district. “We have some kids who transfer from Reed City and one of their courses is ecology, and unfortunately we don’t offer ecology. If they come in with five weeks left in the semester, we have to figure out where to put them,” said Superintendent Jim Ganger. “This would allow us to put them in ecology through BYU and get them as close as possible to where they were.” Also at the meeting, the board approved the creation of two high school graphic design courses.Digital design one and two will be supervised by high school technology teacher Carrie Duffy. Students will take the courses in an independent study format. The board also discussed hiring a grant writer for the district. “It would be beneficial for us because there is a lot of money out there. (The position) would pay for itself a few times over,” said board member Tom Shook, adding that the writer could be paid a percentage of the grant money secured. Board member Merrylie Hayes commended teachers for the grants they have successfully written and been awarded. The board will meet again at 6 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the high school media center.