Expanding Cllinton’s Course Catalog
For the fall 2019 semester, some 200 Clinton High School students are enrolled in Launch courses. Learn how the district is utilizing Launch to offer students a wealth of opportunities.
As administrators in the Clinton School District were looking for a virtual course provider, Launch stood out. “I think for me it was the first time I felt like someone wasn’t trying to sell me a product,” says Jarrod Steffens, Clinton High School Principal. Jarrod is referring to his original meeting with Launch’s Director, Dr. Nichole Lemmon—Dr. Lemmon and other team members often meet with districts who are considering a Launch partnership. “It was obvious we were talking to someone who works in education and who understands how schools work,” Jarrod says. “You all were advocating for kids.”
Approximately one year later, Clinton now has nearly 200 students enrolled in all types of Launch courses. Read on to learn how the district is utilizing Launch’s virtual courses to provide their students a wealth of opportunities.
Jumping in with Both Feet
Launch doesn’t require seat commitments—each semester, school district Launch liaisons have the opportunity to enroll as many or as few students as they’d like. This flexibility is great for some districts, as they choose to smart small and pilot Launch with a handful of students. Clinton, however, took the accelerated route. “As soon as we partnered, one of our teachers became a Launch teacher,” says High School Counselor Jamie McCoy. “We started in the spring 2019 semester with that one teacher, and she taught a class of Clinton Personal Finance students.”
After a positive experience last spring, this teacher—Jennie Jaynes—taught for Launch in the summer 2019 semester. Jenny had many Clinton students in her courses, and she also had students from other districts. Since Launch has as many as 33 students in each online class, teachers often have students beyond their own district. The Clinton School District also expanded student offerings to provide students the opportunity to take other courses not offered in Clinton. “We had students in Driver Education, Health and Personal Finance last summer,” Jarrod says.
Open to all in the Fall
The fall 2019 semester led to many more Launch opportunities for Clinton High School students. “A big thing for us was when our foreign language teacher retired—we didn’t have a replacement,” Jarrod says. “We knew that with Launch, we could go from offering one foreign language to four.” The district decided to utilize Launch for all foreign language offerings. “This got us into the idea of what else we could offer,” Jarrod says. “Launch is helping equalize opportunities for students in smaller, rural districts in Missouri, like us. There are some things we can’t offer because we just don’t have enough students interested in it. We can’t offer a course if only two kids want it. But Launch helps us with this.”
Clinton’s 200 some Launch enrollments include a lot of variety. “We have some students enrolled in Credit Recovery,” says Jamie McCoy. “Of course we have a lot of foreign language enrollments. Then we have multiple other enrollments in courses we don’t offer here—AP Physics, AP Statistics, Astronomy, Driver’s Ed.” These students all work in a computer lab and library area, and they’re supervised by a virtual learning coordinator. “We did not replace our foreign language teacher, but we hired a virtual learning coordinator,” Jarrod says. “He is in the lab with the students—he has 20 to 30 students every hour between students in Launch classes and students who are taking dual credit classes online.”
“Launch is helping equalize opportunities for students at smaller, rural districts in Missouri.”
What Students are Saying
Clinton High School student Katie Mitchell has taken one Launch course and is currently enrolled in two others. “My favorite thing about Launch is that it allows me to take classes I wouldn’t otherwise be able to take here,” Katie says. She has taken Personal Finance for dual credit, and she’s currently in Trigonometry and Spanish III. “I like to challenge myself,” Katie says. “We have seven classes in a day, but I choose to take eight over seven.”
Before she enrolled in Launch classes, Katie had taken one other virtual class—she says she prefers the layout and ease of use in her Launch class. “I like that Launch uses Canvas,” Katie says. Canvas is Launch’s learning management system (think of it as an online classroom). “In the beginning of your class, you learn about the platform through modules,” Katie says.
As Katie talks about the culture of Launch at CHS, she says students love the options it provides. “I’d say the general idea is pretty positive,” Katie says. “Everybody likes having options for their courses. And a lot of people like the independence of being able to take a class online and working at their own pace.”
While Clinton students like the opportunity, Clinton’s high school counselors like the support that Launch teachers provide these students. “From the beginning, I was really happy that there was a teacher for the students to talk to,” says High School Counselor Stacy Pitts. “Our kids still need that—we like that they’re still getting one-to-one attention, even though the class is online.” Jamie agrees. “Launch teachers communicate with the students, with the parents and with us,” she says. “They’re good to reach out, and we need that piece to our online learning here. It’s been good.”
Clinton at a Glance
K-12 Enrollment: 1,779
High School Population: 569
MASA District: West Central
School Colors: Red, White and Blue
Fun Fact: The Katy Trail is the longest developed rail-trail in the country, and it all starts in Clinton! The 225-
mile-long path runs from Clinton
to St. Charles.