Case Study

Students Thrive in a Virtual Environment

December 15, 2014
Catoosa County Public Schools, GA


A number of Catoosa County Public School students struggled in the traditional classroom environment or have life circumstances that prevent them from attending classes during the regular school day.


Catoosa County Public Schools wanted to leverage virtual learning to offer students the flexibility they need to complete rigorous coursework at their own pace outside of the classroom.


Catoosa County Public Schools partnered with Apex Learning to expand educational opportunities for students. With Apex Learning, students have 24/7 access to an engaging, self-paced learning experience via a rigorous, standards-based digital curriculum.


Students achieved a 80 percent course completion rate and a passing rate of 70 percent on state end-of-course exams. Many students who would otherwise have dropped out were provided with the flexibility they needed to stay in school.

Catoosa Course Completion 80%

About Catoosa County Public Schools

  • Location: Ringgold, GA
  • Setting: Suburban
  • Program: Catoosa Online Academy
  • Environment: Virtual Learning
  • Size of District: 11,296 Students
  • Size of Program: 200 Students
  • Grades: 9-12

Creating a Pathway to College and Career

Like many public school districts, Catoosa County Public Schools serves a number of students who require an alternative to the traditional classroom - either because they are not succeeding in the setting or because they cannot regularly attend school due to life circumstances. Recognizing the need for increased learning options, the state of Georgia has instituted statewide online learning initiatives that have led to an increase in virtual programs. In order to ensure that students remain in the district and have access to a quality alternative to the traditional classroom, Catoosa County Public Schools launched its own virtual school, Catoosa Online Academy (COA).

Choosing Apex Learning

COA sought to partner with a digital curriculum provider whose content matched the level of rigor and standards coverage of the district's existing curriculum. With rigorous, standards-based digital curriculum that has been independently evaluated and approved by leading education organizations, including the Georgia Department of Education, Apex Learning was selected to partner with COA.

"When we looked closely at the content, we were surprised at the level of interactivity and the close alignment to our curriculum without any customization. It gave us confidence to use the curriculum in our new virtual setting," states Kyra Rhyne, Virtual Learning Coordinator.

The success of our virtual program and quality of the curriculum has given us confidence to tell our classroom teachers, 'Use this - it's such a complement to your classroom instruction.'

Kyra Rhyne

Virtual Learning Coordinator


Students Thrive in a Virtual Environment

With a course completion rate of 80 percent, COA students thrive in the virtual environment. Students access their courses at any time and are able to progress at their own pace. They spend as much time as they require with the content, moving quickly through concepts with which they are familiar and spending more time with new or difficult material.

Students working independently stay engaged in their coursework through active learning. Rather than being expected to learn by passively watching, reading, and listening, COA students learn by doing. Integrated into every lesson, interactive media bring ideas to life. Students progress through course content by interacting with each concept as they are prompted to observe, inquire, create, connect, and confirm. Instructive feedback is immediately provided as students apply their understanding, creating a continuous interplay with the subject matter that keeps students attentive and motivated.


Expanding the Impact of Digital Curriculum

Today, COA successfully retains students who would have previously sought options outside the district and has even regained several students who had left. "We have students who tell us they would not have succeeded if it weren't for this program," says Rhyne. Moving forward, Catoosa County Public Schools is exploring the possibility of introducing Apex Learning digital curriculum into the classroom at the high school and middle school levels to help ensure students stay on track as they progress toward graduation. "The success of our virtual program and quality of the curriculum has given us confidence to tell our classroom teachers, 'Use this - it's such a complement to your classroom instruction,'" says Rhyne.