DCHS chosen as pilot school

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Selma Times Journal

Dallas County High School is about to enter a new frontier in learning because they now have ACCESS to do so.

ACCESS, which stands for Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide, is an initiative that will allow schools to help other schools by offering advanced level courses and electives that might not be available otherwise.

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DCHS was chosen to be one of 24 pilot schools to launch the program in January 2006.

The school will receive $100,000 in the latest multipoint videoconferencing equipment combined with individual student tablet laptop computers.

With this new technology, DCHS students will have the opportunity to interact with an Alabama certified E-teacher via a big screen in the classroom, take online courses and chat with fellow ACCESS school students online.

Susan Jones, principal of DCHS, said both students and faculty are beyond excited about ACCESS. DCHS will now be able to re-establish its advanced placement courses and add various electives to its curriculum.

When the program launches, elective courses will be offered in ACT preparation, foreign languages, mythology, genetics, forensics and oceanography just to name a few.

Additional courses on Shakespeare, modern authors, meteorology and marine biology will be available to students the following school year, Jones said.

Jones said the addition of these electives would likely decrease the school system’s dropout rate.

According to Jones, ACCESS will not be limited to DCHS. Plans are being made to incorporate J.E. Terry Elementary and Martin Middle School into the program. Students at J.E. Terry may have the opportunity to take introductory classes in foreign language.

Martin Middle School students may be able to take courses helping them make &8220;the difficult transition from eighth to ninth grade.&8221;

Courses in high school preparation and notetaking have been thrown out as possible ideas, Jones said.

In the future, Jones would like ACCESS to be available to the community.