PLATO, a new alternative

PLATO, a new alternative

Student working on an activity

Shawnn Hwang, Staff Reporter

Traditionally, if a student failed a core class, they could look forward to spending time in summer school. Now, PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) offers another option. PLATO is a program offered to seniors as a credit recovery class. This system is unique because it is a computer driven program that hosts a variety of subjects: English, Math, Science and other social sciences. The purpose is to allow second semester seniors to make up missing or lost credit in order to graduate. If a student fails to pass a required class such U.S history, they are given a choice to utilize this program and recover the credit.

Since this is the first year that Riverside Brookfield High School has implemented PLATO, it is not yet a well known alternative to traditional classes. However, if a student takes multiple computer courses, they can test out of subjects that they have already learned or familiar with. As a result, the time in earning the required credit is lessened. Unlike late school, a program formerly offered to struggling students after school, PLATO can be integrated into the school day. After school courses are also available.

Supervisor Charlie Egner said, “It’s an opportunity offered to students to take advantage of. They are not forced to take it, but more of a volunteer basis.”

The goal of the class is to also reinforce student’s knowledge of the subject. They can work on activities until they are mastered. Since this is a computer automated system, it challenges students with an abundance of activities.

Egner said, “PLATO is an alternative to summer school. It is also incredibly effective because rather than learning at a class pace, they can work at their own pace. Those who are dedicated on lessons can pass faster and graduate. However, those who require more than PLATO can take the traditional route of summer school.”

A whole semester worth of credit can be completed as quickly as a quarter if the student is focused and dedicated.  Some students such as Nicole Caffrey have already completed a semester worth of credit.

She said, “This is wonderful because I don’t need to repeat my senior year. The program assignments are pretty basic. You do what you need to do in a certain amount of time and get the credit to graduate.”

After school classes are held on Tuesday through Thursdays for an hour.