Expanding Course Offerings: Aurora

Savannah WaszczukAccess Launch, District Profiles

Thanks to Launch, Aurora High School students have the opportunity to take a plethora of classes the school isn’t able to offer seated.

Aurora Facts
K-12 Enrollment: 2,016
High School Enrollment: 550
City Population: 7,100
School Colors: Red and Black
Mascot: Houn’ Dog
Notable alum: Local philanthropist Brian Fogle
Fun fact: The Houn’ Dawg mascot comes from World War II history—the task force Houn Dawg of the 203D Engineer Battalion was instrumental in route clearance. The battalion adopted the Houn’ Dawg and used the Aurora Armory for home base, so the school adopted the Houn’ Dawg as a mascot and used the motto “Don’t kick our Dawg.”

 

At Aurora High School, size doesn’t matter. District leaders decided that they wouldn’t let the size of the school—550 students—limit the amount of courses available. That’s why the district partnered with Launch in March 2018. “We liked how Launch would allow us to offer things that we don’t have hours in the day to offer,” says Aurora High School Assistant Principal Scott Spooner. “We joined with the idea to expand our course catalog.”

During summer 2018, AHS students had the chance to take Astronomy, Japanese and Web Design through Launch. “The students were excited,” Spooner says. “They liked having additional options, and they liked that it was something they could work on during their own time.” Launch also works well for working students. “A lot of students going into their senior year have part-time jobs,” Spooner says. “With Launch, they’re still able to work and earn credit towards graduation. I think that is appealing to them.”

There were several factors that influenced AHS leaders to select Launch as the appropriate online provider for their district’s expanded course offerings. “One of the main attractions of Launch is that it has real teachers on the backend that are holding kids accountable,” Spooner says. “Also, it’s connected to Missouri Learning Standards. These two things were very important, as well as the fact that Launch allows flexibility for us.”

As the staff at AHS prepares to welcome students for the fall 2018 semester, they plan to offer students more expanded course offerings online with Launch. This is something that Spooner not only believes in for his students, but would also recommend to another district looking to expand its course offerings. “Any time people add things or change, it can be a little scary,” Spooner says. “But I wouldn’t look at it as adding something new. Really, it’s just allowing flexibility to meet your students’ needs. That’s the important thing. Because ultimately, we’re all here for our students.”