Catholic Schools K12 Virtual

[UPDATE: Please see the comments at the bottom of this post to correct some errors that were made in this overview of CSK12.]

St. Andrew Catholic School/Parish in Coral Springs, Florida has developed an online education program focused on the Catholic Schools market. The program is called Catholic Schools K12 Virtual and it can be found at http://www.csk12.com/. Although a recent press release on Catholic Online suggests that the program was created to “deliver high quality Catholic education during these tough economic times,” the “.com” in the website’s URL is a reminder that CSK12 is a for profit company.

How is the program being marketed? From the administrator’s page you can see the following suggestions:

  • Offer Enrichment Programs
  • Advanced Credits
  • Credit Recovery
  • Summer Programs
  • After School – Before School Enrichment Programs
  • Reach Hospital-Homebound Students and Children with Special Needs
  • Reach Children who Geographically can not attend a Catholic School
  • Supplemental Programs or Full Courses
  • Fast, Inexpensive Startup to create your own “Virtual School in a Box”

CSK12 claims to have developed courses based on the “national standards” covering the core subjects of language arts, social studies, science, mathematics, and “faith based education” as well a number of electives. The high school “faith based education,” it should be noted, do not seem to conform to the USCCB’s Curriculum Framework released in 2008 and there are no elementary school religion classes.

Certified teachers will be available for CSK12 courses, but the interaction with students is dependent upon students’ initiative. Daily lessons are read and downloaded by students. The trouble with this and any online learning program is that its effectiveness is completely dependent upon the participant. Essentially, students will be teaching themselves and be limited only to the content presented. Interaction is an aspect of student learning that cannot be overlooked.

“Our schools have a choice, they can embrace the modern educational climate, engage students and grow, or we can continue to do things the way we’ve always done them and risk becoming obsolete” said Trina Trimm in the previously mentioned press release. I totally agree with you Trina, but online education will not make face-to-face interaction obsolete.

It should also be noted that CSK12 recently partnered with the Cardinal Newman Institute in Fort Worth, Texas to offer future courses in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholic Theological Tradition, Scripture, Catholic Theology, and Principles of Catechesis for adults seeking faith formation.

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Comments

  1. Jared, please give us a call! Your post shows you reviewed the website, but you don’t have a good understanding of the offering. Our courses can be taken at the student’s pace, but that certainly does not mean that all interaction with the teacher is at the student’s instigation! Our teachers call their students at a minimum of once a week; all their assignments are graded by the teachers, not by graders, and they strive for a 24-hour turnaround (better than a brick-and-mortar school in most cases). The students in each class interact with one another by using Skype, chat and the message boards for their classroom discussions, as well as team projects that are common in a number of classes, just as in a bricks-and-mortar school. The high school religious curriculum is in complete alignment with the US Council of Catholic Bishops. The religious education classes for grades 1-8 is the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies, which is tied to the lectionary; the students work with the Gospel story all week long that they will be hearing in Mass on Sunday. The existence of this school expands the availability of a Catholic education to remote areas, homebound students, and non-traditional schedules. It also allows brick-and-mortar Catholic schools to offer classes that appeal to only a few students, instead of turning them away or making them take what’s offered, instead of what’s available. Give us a call and let us show you around!

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for the clarification. When I wrote this post, I think the program was still very new so I apologize for my ignorance. I’m curious if you work with local dioceses to determine their religious education standards (if they enforce them)? I think there is a lot of potential with the work you are doing especially for the groups that you mention. I love the idea of expanding Catholic education beyond geographic boundaries!

  2. Hi Jared and Lisa,
    I am new to the online schooling. Jared, I am glad that you apologized for your ignorance, because before seeing your post, but after reading your article. I was getting the impression that you haven’t even looked over the CSK12 website. I am concidering this program for my children, and I am looking for all information reguarding it. Would it be possible for you to update this, because if someone like me was to read it they may be put off by your post without even understanding the program.

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