Idaho high school students soon could be taking classes online, thanks to a partnership between the Meridian, Idaho, school district and the Eugene, Ore.-based CyberSchool.

Meridian hopes to have the program, which links students and instructors through eMail, in place by the fall semester.

Its first local offering will be Global Perspectives, a new required class for Meridian high school students. The course will be offered in the classroom as well as on-line. As with all CyberSchool courses, the class will be available to any Idaho student.

CyberSchool Principal Jack Turner said one of the biggest advantages of the program is its equal access. “In small towns, equal access is of tremendous importance,” he said.

For Meridian, the advantages include greater course offerings with a minimum investment. The only cost will be for training teachers and developing on-line courses.

Now in its third full year, CyberSchool has 162 students around the United States and in three foreign countries. It is supported in part by donations from the Symantec Corporation and Apple Computers. It is a project of the Oregon Public Education Network (O.P.E.N.).

Students can take high school and advanced placement college courses ranging from Shakespeare to social studies to genetics.

To learn more about CyberSchool, you can view a short, 10-minute video on its web site. The video outlines the main features of CyberSchool and talks about the best ways to integrate CyberSchool classes into your school curriculum.