First ‘hybrid’ courses; now, a ‘hybrid’ school

'Hybrid' courses, which offer a blend of online and face-to-face instruction, have become increasingly popular in schools and colleges nationwide. Now, a new high school in Hawaii has taken the same concept and applied it to an entire school.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) SEED Academy is a new public 'bricks and clicks' high school that offers a blended curriculum of core, Advanced Placement, and world language courses taken online, as well as hands-on electives in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) taught on-campus at Oahu's Kapolei High School.

An innovative alternative to the traditional school experience, the academy is currently enrolling students tuition-free for the 2008-09 school year, which begins August 11.

The combined online and face-to-face curriculum gives students the benefits of a flexible schedule, while maintaining a high-quality education, school officials said. Courses are taught by experienced teachers who provide small-group instruction and individualised feedback to help students master course material. Students also will benefit from ongoing interaction with their teachers and peers via online and on-campus lessons and face-to-face lab and field activities.

'Our innovative 'bricks and clicks' programme offers Hawaii high school students the best of both worlds–the flexibility to take core courses online, and the opportunity to take project-based, hands-on STEM enrichment classes on-campus at Kapolei High School,' said Elizabeth Blake, president of Ainoa Inc., a local Hawaiian company that delivers online educational content to secondary-school students. 'Our programme is designed to help each student reach his or her highest academic and personal enrichment goals.'

The school is a joint project of UHM, Kapolei High School, Ainoa Inc., and is a non-profit organisation that provides resources and opportunities to foster student interest in STEM careers.

Graduates of UHM SEED Academy will receive a Kapolei High School diploma. Students at the school also will have access to extracurricular activities, including participation in Kapolei High School sports teams if they live within the Kapolei school district.


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