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Crosslake Community School looks to offer online high school next fall

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Crosslake Community School (CCS) students might soon have the opportunity to continue their education in Crosslake all the way to graduation.

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School Director Todd Lyscio said CCS, which is currently K-8, continues to grow, and expanding the school to offer high school courses has been in the works for some time.

“We have a desire to expand the school to an online format,” he said. “We’ve developed a model that’s not as common as a typical online (program).”

Although all of the core content would be delivered through Odysseyware, an online education software company, Lyscio said students would primarily work on-site. Online courses do allow for some flexibility in schedule, however. He pointed to a current student who races bicycle motocross (BMX) who would be able to complete his online coursework even while attending races elsewhere.

The school plans to renovate the computer lab and to hire a licensed teacher as a learning coach for these students, assisting with proper course registration, planning and post-secondary readiness.

Sixteen families have already committed to continuing education through high school at CCS, including nine of the 11 current eighth-grade students.

Lyscio said children who’ve attended CCS through the younger grades may feel more comfortable remaining at the school, given the individualized attention they’ve received throughout their education. Class size at CCS is capped at 19 students.

“For some kids, individualized, smaller models do better,” he said. “We know our kids very well. If there are issues that surface with a student ... we just know about it faster.”

Deborah Proctor, online and distance learning specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), visited the school Wednesday, May 21, to evaluate the proposed program. Lyscio said Proctor shared that she intends to recommend approval of the online high school to MDE Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

To be approved as an online learning provider, CCS must show the courses it will offer will be rigorous, will meet state academic standards and will contribute to grade progression in individual subjects. Lyscio said Odysseyware meets all of the state standards for instruction.

Upon approval, CCS would join 29 other online learning providers throughout the state.

Chelsey Perkins can be reached at chelsey.perkins@pineandlakes.com. Follow her at facebook.com/PEJChelsey and on Twitter @PEJ_Chelsey.

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Chelsey Perkins
Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in professional journalism from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Perkins has interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before joining the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.
(218) 855-5874
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