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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Students have other options to complete their schoolwork

Sunday, October 28, 2007

(Photo)
Through NovaNET, students have been able to recover credits and make scheduling easier. Pictured are students who have already completed course credits this year through NovaNET; (back, from left) Dennis Meng, Josh Batchelor, Scott Wyndham, Nathan Akers, (front) Armando Perez, Robert Biggs, and Nick Hensler. Melinda Quasius photo.
A new computer program at Northview High School is giving students more options to complete their coursework if they fall behind.

NovaNET is a web-based program that individualizes class work for students so they can master state-standard skills at their own pace.

The NovaNET program was installed this school year, and students have already completed class credits.

The program is being used for credit recovery for students who have failed classes, as well as students who wish to take advanced classes that would interfere with their class schedule.

Principal Tim Rayle said the ability to recover credits through the NovaNET program has helped seniors who are one or two credits shy of graduation.

Another positive from the NovaNET program is for students who enter the school corporation in the middle of the semester.

Instead of waiting to begin classes until the next semester, the students who are put into the program and can earn credits as soon as they enter the school.

Rayle said that feedback from faculty, staff and students has been very positive.

"We've got kids looking at opportunities they'd never had before," Rayle said.

Because NovaNET is individualized, students ranging from remedial to advanced proficiency are using the software.

According to Rayle, a sophomore this year was enrolled in pre-calculus, which is usually a junior or senior level class.

Indiana state standards, though, require all students to pass Algebra 2 first.

Because the student was so far advanced, they had not completed Algebra 2 during their time at Northview, but was able to pass the course in nine weeks using NovaNET.

Rayle also used the example of two students who discovered that they needed Chemistry as a prerequisite to entering a college program.

Even though their class schedules were already set before the discovery, the students are now able to come in before school to complete the Chemistry class.

Rayle also said that two students recently were considering dropping out of school.

The two students were referred into the NovaNET program, and are currently very successful.

According to Rayle and Assistant Principal Jim Clausen, NovaNET does not take teachers out of the educational process.

Teachers can use the software as an aide in the classroom, and some faculty are specifically trained to assist students as they work if an aide is unfamiliar with the coursework.

Students who do not pass the NovaNET class are put back into a usual classroom setting.

Some students opt not to use the program, or spend a day in the lab and realize it is not for them.

But that, Rayle said, is a choice the student makes.

"We need to change because of technology and the way kids learn," Clausen said.

Currently, students who fail a class at Northview will meet with their guidance counselor, and together a determination will be made if the student should repeat the class with a different teacher or use the NovaNET lab to complete the course.

If the student chooses to use NovaNET, they will first complete a basic skills assessment, as students below an eighth grade-reading level would complete a basic skills program to bring them up to the eighth grade level.

Then, the student would complete a pre-test, determining where the weakness of the student lies.

NovaNET gives a personal "prescription" for each student to bring them along in the program.

Students take notes on reading materials and complete quizzes and tests for each course, and then take an end-of-course final.

Courses are taken one at a time during study halls, or before and after school.

The NovaNET computer lab opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m., giving students time to complete their work.

The lab is staffed with an instructional aide that has completed two full days of training, as well as access to other staff members with NovaNET training.

The company that produced NovaNET, Pearson Digital Learning, is working to expand course availability beyond the core classes, according to Rayle.

Northview is hoping to use the program to predict ISTEP results, as well as find the areas where students need more help.

NovaNET will also be part of the summer school curriculum.



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