The Edmond Sun

Local News

April 14, 2013

Education alternative is answer for Edmond sophomore

Online virtual learning allows flexibility in schedule

EDMOND — Online virtual school is an education alternative that is working quite well for one Edmond sophomore.

Alexandra Ashworth and her family including father and mother, Fred and Vonda, and two brothers moved to Edmond in June and Alexandra enrolled at North High School. Between classes, homework and practicing her passion, ballet, 15 hours a week, she didn’t seem to have enough time to fit in all of her other interests and activities.

“I began checking out other choices, and I came up with the virtual school through Oklahoma Connections Academy out of Bartlesville and decided this was an option I was interested in trying,” Alexandra said.

OKCA is a tuition-free online public school serving students throughout Oklahoma in grades K-12. OKCA gives the students the flexibility to learn at home with a curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. Each student is able to maximize his or her potential and meet the highest performance standards through a uniquely individualized program.

“This has been a great option for Alexandra,” said her mother, Vonda Ashworth, “because it allows her to have more flexibility in her schedule.”

By her own admission, this insomniac studies best in the still of the night, goes to bed when everyone else is getting up, sleeps until noon and than begins practicing ballet for about five hours each day.

“I have a learning coach who along with my other teachers seems to be up all hours of the night so when I have a question I can go online and email or chat on Facebook and get the answers I need,” Alexandra said.

By the end of May, Alexandra will have finished all of her course work for graduation, but she plans on enrolling in AP courses for the next two years. With plans to major in Pre-Medicine/Emergency Medicine and Ballet, Alexandra said she knows she will have a hectic schedule but it is one she is already accustomed to doing.

Alexandra said dancers don’t make much money, but with a double major she plans on teaching ballet in the afternoons, working in the hospital emergency room all night and sleeping in the mornings.

“It is a schedule much like I am doing now,” Alexandra said. “I have a passion for dance and anatomy and physiology, and my goal is to be the best dancer I can possibly be so I can teach other dancers and to be the best doctor I can be.”

Alexandra said within both careers she will be able to help others.

“Besides,” Alexandra said, “ I need an adrenaline rush while I am doing something I love.”

“I am very disciplined,” Alexandra said, “and virtual school is all about me being able to push myself and study at my own speed. I can go ahead or hold back as I teach myself. I am an audio learner and I am able to get videos, tutorials and have recorded notes. All of the education is not online, but our textbook is online also.”

When Alexandra finishes her course work and takes all of the AP courses through the online virtual school she is interested in taking, she will take the End of Instruction test just like seniors graduating from public schools and will receive a State of Oklahoma diploma.

“What I love as a parent is the open curriculum provides opportunities to expand Alexandra’s learning,” her mother said. “Not only does she do problems but the online classes give her the opportunity to expand her creativity, and the live lessons let her have the opportunity to talk with other students.”

Alexandra said there are a bountiful number of clubs and organizations to belong to and contests to enter.

Her plans include attending Friends University, a nondenominational school founded by Quakers. Friends is one of three universities in the nation offering ballet and pre-med as a major.

“I plan on testing out of a number of college classes when I test for my AP courses,” Alexandra said. Always thinking ahead, Alexandra said it is important for her to help her parents as much as she can financially and this is one way she can do it.

Alexandra said she learns a lot from watching other ballet performers. She first started dancing at 14 years of age but has come a long way since then.

“I take every opportunity I can to observe and enjoy other dancers, and I saw the Russian National Ballet when they came to Oklahoma.”

She also plays classical guitars and takes lessons at A.R.T.S. on Second Street and Coltrane.

A.R.T.S. stands for Arts Revealing the Son, and it is a Christian music school. Her twin brother Cole and her brother Ryan also take music classes there under the direction of Katha Bardel.

“Alexandra is very driven and she knows her weaknesses,” her mother said. “She is open to adult correction and she has the internal drive to keep moving forward.”

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