Lights, camera, class

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, September 4, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news reporter
While W.S. Neal High School students sat taking a Spanish exam on Friday, their Escambia County High counterparts were 30 miles away - and on a TV screen in the classroom.
Neal, a pilot participant in the state's distance learning program, will soon be joined by T.R. Miller High School and ECHS in taking part in the new education concept.
ACCESS - Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide has seen the addition of 100 new sites according to information released by the Alabama Department of Education this week.
Students at W.S. Neal High School have been exposed to ACCESS since the beginning of this school year. The program is being piloted at the school on an inter-system trial. Currently, students are able to acquire education through distance learning in Spanish I &II on the campus of the school.
The Spanish classes are being taught by Patricia Taylor, who is located in her regular classroom in Atmore while instructing the class in the East Brewton school.
The addition of T.R. Miller High School and Escambia County High School as ACCESS sites won't have any bearing on this year's classes, but future classes will certainly benefit from the program.
Rotch said the program is a two-way street in that students at T.R. Miller will benefit from the classes taught by satellite and offerings the school will be able to provide to the system.
According to Dr. Melinda Maddox, who serves as the director of technology initiatives for the Alabama Department of Education, the program will be serving more than 45,000 students statewide in the near future.
ACCESS Distance Learning links Alabama students with quality instruction and coursework by blending Web-based and interactive videoconference courses taught by Alabama certified and highly qualified teachers according to Maddox.
ACCESS programs will be available to students in grades 9-12 and any special education student in a state correctional facility who is registered with an Alabama public high School.