This fall, ALHS Online (Association of Lutheran High Schools Online) entered its 10th year of offering online classes.
ALHS Online started as a collaborative effort of the WELS Association of Lutheran High Schools to offer high quality online courses to expand the course offerings of WELS high schools. Enrollment and class offerings have increased every year, from an average of 30 students per semester and 5 courses in the 2011-12 school year to more than 300 students and 28 courses per semester in the 2020-21 school year.
These courses provide supplemental educational opportunities for students, especially from WELS’ smaller high schools. Ms. Micayla Bork, a sophomore at Wisconsin Lutheran College, took several courses through ALHS Online that were not offered at her high school, Apostles Lutheran High School, San Jose, Calif. “What I appreciated most about these courses are the important life skills they taught me,” she says. “Not only did I learn the material, but I learned how to be successful in an online class. Overall, they really prepared me for college.”
Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School (MVL), New Ulm, Minn., is the largest yearly user of the program, with between 40 and 50 students a semester taking online courses. “The teachers from ALHS Online really go above and beyond to try to meet the needs of the kids,” says Dr. Tim Plath, MVL principal and also one of the founding members of ALHS Online. Besides paying for the classes for its students, MVL provides time during the school day for online learning. Plath says students take a variety of the courses offered, with AP Psychology and AP U.S. History being especially popular.
Since its inception, ALHS Online also has added math and foreign language courses for seventh and eighth grade students (students from 32 Lutheran elementary schools are taking courses this year) and a four-year high school religion curriculum.
ALHS Online was recently accredited by the Middle States Association as a learning service provider. Dr. James Grunwald, superintendent of ALHS Online, says that besides being a good peer review for the organization, accreditation “gives the parents of the students who we work with the assurance that we have high quality teachers and educational programs.”
Learn more at alhso.org.