University of Miami online high school to meet needs of non-traditional students
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
The University of Miami is launching an online high school to offer students nationally and abroad an alternative to a traditional classroom learning, school officials say.
Craig Wilson, UM Global Academy headmaster, said it's "the perfect marriage of quality education and convenience for students understanding now that more students are mobile and busy."
He said that traditional high schools are not equipped to work with students involved in activities such as sports, the arts or who travel and can't attend regular classes. "It's hard to keep those dreams alive if bound by a brick-and-mortar institution."
Classes are offered for full-time students seeking high school diplomas and part-timers looking to take classes and transfer them to their host high school.
Summer tuition is $290 per half credit and $575 per full credit; core courses require two semesters equaling a full credit.
For fall and spring semesters, the cost is $995 per half credit, $1,990 per full credit, or $11,940 for six credits for the full year. A $70 non-refundable application fee is required.
Mr. Wilson said the curriculum offers 70-plus courses including electives such as essentials of business, digital arts and financial literacy, plus interactive clubs such as yearbook, honors society and chess club.
Registration for the summer session begins this month and classes start June 15.
The faculty is made up of state-certified teachers at the high school level, he said.
The advantage of online high school is that unlike school systems nationwide struggling with budget cuts, he said, the academy doesn't have to worry about building expenses.
Marcy Ullom, associate vice president of UM's Division of Continuing and International Education, said even in challenging economic times education is a successful business.
She said the decision to launch an online high school surfaced because "online learning of all ages has risen exponentially."
With overcrowding in public schools and a reduction in course offerings due to budget cuts, she said students need another option. "Our intent is to develop a top-quality product competitive in the market place and to recognize that this generation is very much digital native."
Operating under the wing of a major university allows the academy to leverage expertise of UM staff and departments, she said. Tuition revenues will go toward growing the academy and to support UM academics, she said.
The academy is getting its accreditations from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on International Trans-Regional Accreditation.
Students attending the full-time program don't have to worry about Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test as it's not required for private schools, Mr. Wilson said.
The online high school is to have a portal to let parents check their child's progress and take tutorials on online learning.
Mr. Wilson projects initial enrollment is to reach about 200 to 300 students as classes.
The virtual classroom is open to students nationally and abroad with students from Asia, Europe and the Middle East able to enroll.
The academy's staff is to schedule its workweek to service all nine time zones, he said.