Gainesville City Schools offer online courses to students through two programs, but the system does not provide online instruction itself.
Sarah Bell, chief academic officer for the city schools, said the system’s size, the demand for online instruction and the breadth of course offerings at Gainesville High School are factors in its choices.
The system had 305 students enrolled in online classes Thursday.
She explained that students at GHS generally use Georgia Virtual School, a program of the state Department of Education, for online courses.
High school students take courses online if the school does not offer the course, she said. She noted that some courses, citing Advanced Placement science courses, are not offered every year.
Bell said the district has learned that students “are more successful when they had support on campus.”
She added that “blended” instruction — the combination of online and interaction with an instructor — “is where we want to devote our energy.”
Another program, Edgenuity, provides online instruction for Woods Mill High School. Middle school students may use Edgenuity or Georgia Virtual, she said.
Bell said the district has been using Edgenuity curricula for “about a decade” and was one of the first schools to use it. “We feel like it’s got some good components,” she said.
If a student takes an online course as part of his or her schedule, Bell said, there is no cost to the student. The school district pays for the course, but it is reimbursed by the state the next year, she said.
She said a course costs $500, and the system spends about $50,000 a year on Georgia Virtual instruction.