On Thursday, February 15, 2018, MHCRC staff attended the Portland Public Schools (PPS) celebration for the Annual Virtual Scholars Student Panel. The Panel was made up of high school student participants of the PPS Virtual Scholars Program (VS), a recipient of the MHCRC Community Technology Grant Program. The grant funded Digital Transformation Project focuses on addressing the problem of the achievement gap between demographic groups, specifically targeting students who are not on track to graduate in four years because they are credit deficient. The program offers PPS high school students courses in Health, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies by means of a blended online learning platform in their own classrooms and buildings. MHCRC grant investments have been made to provide the technical infrastructure to support online learning, to implement the training program for online teachers and to develop and adapt curriculum for online learning.
Student quotes from the panel:
“I feel like I learned more in a half year [with Virtual Scholars] than I did in a full year at a regular high school setting.” –Student participant
“Everything about Virtual Scholars is supportive. We have resources like our amazing VS teachers to help us.” –Student participant
“With Virtual Scholars you can text them [teachers] and facetime them during class. I know the mentors and teachers will always be there.” –Student participant
“For me one of the advantages [of Virtual Scholars] was being about to go back to previous assignments and look over my work to see if I had anything missing or anything left to do. I think that helped me the most to finish.” –Student participant
“I feel like Virtual Scholars gives you a lot of freedom in how you want to learn. In giving you that freedom it gives you motivation to do your best work and get as much done as you need to.” –Student participant