[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.