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District 518’s VIBE program proves to be a success

WORTHINGTON — District 518’s VIBE (Virtual Instruction by Excellence) Academy program unveiled in August 2013 is seeing success with students thus far, according to its administrator.

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“This really helps students with different learning styles — home-bound students and home-schooled students,” Alternative Learning Principal Nate Hanson said.

VIBE Academy is a public school using an innovative model to provide students with the best education possible.

“We use a curriculum through our vendor, Aventa, and K-12 teachers across the state teach their area of studies online through a variety of teaching styles,” Hanson explained.

The system being used is along the lines of what college students currently utilize across the country.

“We use a system called Blackboard, which many college students already use,” explained Andrea Derynck, extended/

online learning manager for District 518. “A lot of the classes involve quizzes, videos and articles, so it’s pretty interactive.”

Teachers are able to customize their classes, and a 24-hour help desk is available for students who may need assistance. Teachers are also available through office hours and email.

In grades K-5, a child is required to have a learning coach — parent or guardian — who will typically spend three to six hours per day working side by side with the student, helping facilitate his or her progress through the lessons.

In grades 6-8, the learning coach’s role adjusts to approximately one to four hours per day, as students grow more independent and rely more on their teachers for instructional support.

Grades 9-12 have highly individualized programs reflecting students’ abilities in each subject as well as their developing interests.

“We normally say that a minimum of one to two hours per class, depending on course requirements, is pertinent in order to have success,” Hanson said.

Parents or guardians are also given weekly progress reports that are also distributed to the student.

Kegan Duwenhoegger, 17, has been involved with the VIBE program for two months and is expected to graduate in 2015.

“It isn’t like regular school — you’re able to work ahead and work at your own pace, which I really like,” Duwenhoegger said. “It’s not so much lectures, and it’s very interactive.”

Students aged 19 through 21 who want to enroll must meet with school officials to see prior credits, so students are able to graduate by age 21.

The VIBE Academy has also partnered with Worthington High School and offered an online agriculture class to about 18 students this past year.

“The class was really successful, and we’re working on creating more online classes available for high school students,” Hanson said.

VIBE Academy is still accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year, and is starting enrollment for the 2014-2015 academic year.

“Our main goal has always been to meet the needs of our region,” Hanson said.

“I believe in the future online classes will be a necessity for students.”

For more information on District 518’s VIBE Academy or to enroll, visit

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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