years ago, the Bucyrus City School District launched the Educational
Options program to provide students with an alternative means of earning
their high school diploma. The success of the Educational Options
program was immediate, and led to the implementation of a Virtual
Learning Academy (VLA).
The Virtual Learning Academy was implemented during the first
semester of the 2014-2015 school year to give students the opportunity
to earn elective credits by taking courses not offered in the
traditional high school curriculum. Students at Bucyrus High School have
the opportunity to choose courses from an expanded curriculum of 45 new
titles through the Virtual Learning Academy. The expanded course
offerings have resulted in more students earning more elective credits.
"During the first semester of the this school year, Bucyrus High
School students earned 24.5 total elective credits by successfully
completing 49 courses through the Academy," Director of Educational
Options Kevin Fourman said. "Students completing coursework through the
Academy earned a 3.18 grade point average."
Many students took multiple classes during the first semester. Senior
Gregg Piatt completed six courses, including: Sociology 1 and 2,
Anthropology 1 and 2, Psychology, and World Religion and Culture.
"The Virtual Learning Academy is good because you have more time to
complete the assignments," Piatt said. "It's challenging too because
there are times when you don't quite understand the material and it
takes more time to get responses from your advisor. But overall, it's a
really good program because it provides opportunities to learn about
things that aren’t normally offered in high school."
Courses that students completed during the first semester included
those such as Intro to Social Media, Principles of Health Science,
Criminology, Veterinary Sciences and Game Development just to name a
few. Students completed coursework on their schedule, and had the
opportunity to work with High School teachers as advisor/monitors for
"I served as the advisor/monitor for three students who took
Principles of Architecture and Construction and Principles of
Engineering and Technology," Industrial Technology Instructor Heath
Sager said. "One of the students, through the VLA program, was able to
do an alternative design project for the athletic director at the high
school for the football field. These types of alternative experiences
can only help foster a personal significance for their own education
beyond what 'traditional' courses can offer."
ï¿¼Piatt intends to pursue a college degree after high school to work
as a Physical Therapy Assistant. His experience in the Virtual Learning
Academy has helped prepare him for the next step in his educational
"Many colleges offer online courses, and thanks to the VLA, I will be
prepared to take those college-level courses towards my degree," Piatt
said. "VLA also helped me be more focused with my time and the tasks I
need to complete. It has helped me learn how to move things around in my
schedule to be able to complete the coursework."
In addition to expanding the curriculum through the VLA, the High
School also offers laptops and wireless Internet connectivity to
students who otherwise would not have the resources to access the online
curriculum. These devices give the students the opportunity to learn
"Both the Educational Options program and the VLA have created a
unique learning environment at Bucyrus High School," Secondary School
Principal Dr. Mark Burke said. "We are able to offer students,
regardless of current class schedule or achievement level, the
opportunity to learn in a way that is a customized and personalized
educational experience for each student. We hope to continue both
programs for many years to come to give Bucyrus students the ability to
take control of their education, enhance their knowledge well beyond the
traditional high school curriculum and move on to be successful,
productive members of society."
"The students at Bucyrus High School have more access to curriculum,
technology and support than other students throughout Crawford County,"
Superintendent Kevin Kimmel said. "This is just another example of the
Board of Education's commitment to making the Bucyrus City School
District the school of choice in north central Ohio."
To learn more about the Educational Options program and the Virtual
Learning Academy, please contact Kevin Fourman at 419-562-7721 or email