Online charter school opens Aug. 31

Steve Knight is the Chief  Educational  officer for Silver State Charter High School. Cubicals are ready for teachers and computers.   Belinda Grant Nevada Appeal

Steve Knight is the Chief Educational officer for Silver State Charter High School. Cubicals are ready for teachers and computers. Belinda Grant Nevada Appeal

Students turned off by school have a new alternative this year: Log on.

Northern Nevada's first online charter high school is scheduled to open in Carson City Aug. 31.

"This is not just a correspondence course online," said director Steve Knight. "It's interactive. It's neat. It puts the enjoyment back in learning."

After being turned down for a charter sponsorship from the Carson City School Board, Silver State Charter School was approved in July by the Nevada State Board of Education.

"I would have liked a very cooperative relationship with the Carson City board," Knight said. "It would have eased the transition. But I'm excited about the sponsorship from the state board."

The charter school, funded through the same process as other public schools, is free to students and will follow the same calendar as other schools in the Carson City School District.

The curriculum will include 40 courses, both requirements and electives, including physical education.

Instead of the traditional six classes per 36-week school year, online students will take two credits for 12 weeks then sign up for new ones.

After completing the state-mandated 221Ú2 credits and passing the proficiency exam, students will receive a standard diploma.

"We're under the same pressures and performance guidelines as any school district," Knight explained. "We have to meet the No Child Left Behind standards."

Knight taught math, science and auto shop at Carson High School beginning in 1975. From 1988 to 2000, he was the adult- and alternative- education specialist for Storey and Lyon counties. He continued that job for the State Department of Education until 2001.

He also worked on Goals 2000, the governor's task force to reduce high school drop-out rates.

On that task force, he said he saw students dropping out of school because they were ahead of their classmates academically, because were behind and to avoid social pressures associated with high school.

Knight said all those problems are solved with the online school where students can work at their own rate and teachers are available at the click of a mouse.

"Our emphasis is that every course is a sellable skill," Knight said. "That's an integral part of every class, to show how it relates to real life."

Knight helped organize two similar schools in Las Vegas, Odyssey High School and Clark County Team Academy.

"I see how successful this format is and how excited kids are with this type of program," he said. "They just love it, and they do well."

Students have a required amount of hours they must spend on the computer and have regular meetings with teachers at the school site at 3719 N. Carson St.

Parents can monitor their child's time spent on work. Grades are available online for students and parents throughout the school year.

Enrollment is open to all students in Nevada, with an emphasis on Carson City and surrounding counties. More than 100 students have signed up. Organizers hope to reach 210 pupils this year with the ultimate goal of about 450.

Contact Teri Vance at or at 881-1272.


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