The Online Success Center: What Apex Can Mean For You

Onovu Otitigbe-Dangerfield, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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APEX! APEX! APEX! At this point in the school year I’m sure everyone has received a visit from Mr. Vacanti regarding the online success center.

The online success center is located on the first floor of the school by tower 1 (room 111) filled with computers and students looking to fulfill their credit recovery requirements. But, just because you heard of APEX does not mean that you completely understand what it is, but more importantly what it means to you.

The program was instituted in Albany High during the 2010-2011 school year. Headed by Mr. Tom Vacanti, the program is designed to provide a digital platform for students to personalize their learning, fulfilling criteria regarding national and state standards.

In the words of Tom Vacanti himself: “If a student failed a class in the quarter… you can sign up for APEX and that grade (if it is higher than your class grade) is averaged into your GPA.” This opportunity is not just limited to students with failing grades, however many honors students who desire a higher GPA also invest in the APEX program to boost grades that do not reach their own standards.

Speaking as someone who has used APEX for these reasons, I can attest to the fact that it is a lot of work and it can be time consuming. But it is also an opportunity not many high schools offer, and it is a safety net for students that can not afford to be failing classes.

The APEX content varies dependent on the course, but in most cases there is a pre-test to determine the material the student knows. This allows the computer to organize a program list that suits whatever knowledge the student is lacking in. This is followed by a series of lesson plans with quizzes and tests to wrap up each unit. The test must be taken in the APEX room but the rest of the material can be done on your own time. If you fail a quiz, you must go to see Mr. Vacanti or Ms. Emery for them reset it, giving you another chance to pass it.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Every great program has its downfalls. Some students have recanted experiences where the APEX room consisted of students not utilizing the space for academic progress, but instead to fool around with friends. Additionally, each student has different learning styles and it is very possible that the lack of face to face contact with an instructor can make the content more difficult to learn. Nevertheless, if APEX seems like a learning tool for you, don’t be afraid to try it out. See Mr. Vacanti in room 111 for more details!

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