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BOE members tour new location of online campus

LAWRENCEVILLE — Christopher Ray called it a dream come true.

“You are standing in the school of the future,” said Ray, the principal of the Gwinnett Online Campus.

Ray was like a kid showing off a new toy on Thursday as he led members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education on a tour of the new location of the online school. The school moved in July from a location at 2595 Beaver Ruin Road in Norcross to 713 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville, which Ray said gives the district a chance to reach students across Gwinnett from a more centralized location.

The previous building is being renovated to be the new Summerour Middle School.

Ray described to the board members and senior staff of Gwinnett County Public Schools how the school has six interactive rooms where students can log in to classroom teaching from home, or take quizzes at home using their cellphone.

The school opened in 2011 with 160 students, but now counts 229 students, and reaches nearly 5,000 throughout supplemental classes, Ray said. The school opened with just high school students, but has since added middle school and, this year, fourth- and fifth-graders. There aren’t plans to offer the online curriculum to any younger students, he said.

“Online is not for everybody,” Ray said. “It fits a certain niche of students in the community. But we have the same rigor, and our end-of-course tests are on par with brick-and-mortar schools.”

There are several reasons for a student to choose to enroll in the online school. Ray said they may want to free up their schedule for extracurricular activities, graduate early, or simply have school-phobia.

Radloff joins meeting by phone

Long-time Gwinnett County Board of Education member Louise Radloff missed what was believed to be her first regular board meeting in her 40 years of service. But she joined the meeting by phone to follow along with presentations in the workshop portion. She also was vocal in the regular board meeting.

Radloff broke her neck when she fell off a loading dock on Sept. 4. On Sept. 11, she began rehabilitation at Glancy Rehabilitation Center in Duluth.

“Mrs. Radloff, true to form, she is recovering very well, we certainly miss her presence, but are sure she is here,” Board Chair Carole Boyce said.

On the phone, Radloff said she wished she could come by and shake the hand of the 16 graduates of the Aspiring Principal Program Cohort 7, who were honored at the workshop meeting. Radloff also asked questions about a technology presentation during the workshop, and made the motion for the board to enter enter executive session.