Embracing Online Homebound Education to Serve Students in Off Campus Treatment Centers


Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 1:00am

It is never an ideal situation when a student must leave the classroom to seek medical treatment.  While students receiving care for serious physical conditions, such as leukemia, are incorporated into hospital education programs, students coping with mental illnesses, such as depression and bi-polar disorder, often find it difficult to stick to a regular classroom routine and as a result fall behind.  Until recently these students have had no options for educational assistance when they leave their school.  Yet, in today’s advanced educational environment, technology is providing a pathway to give these students an opportunity to keep up with their studies, while undergoing in-patient and out-patient treatment.

BayCare Behavioral Health is one of Florida’s Statewide Inpatient Psychiatric Programs (SIPP).  Baycare is a healthcare institution that works with Pasco County School District to embrace new technology and a structured online curriculum to enable the district’s students to continue their courses while receiving medical treatment. The program, which was established in 2011, is a 16-bed Residential Inpatient Treatment Program designed to serve those high-risk children ages 6-17 who require intensive therapies.

Baycare’s SIPP services are designed to treat and reintegrate youth into a less restrictive environment as quickly as possible, but most patients remain in care for an average of 120 days.  Not only does Baycare offer a therapeutic environment, but the facility is also responsible for meeting the educational needs of all their students, who range from Kindergarten through grade 12.

By leveraging Fuel Education’s Homebound offering, Baycare is able to meet the individual needs of each student and keep them on track with a structured and carefully monitored curriculum.  Because the online program enables immediate feedback, it helps teachers hone in on areas needing attention, allowing for further program customization.  Additionally Baycare’s students have access to an advisor or mentor to monitor progress and act as a teacher liaison, saving the district the high cost of leveraging their own staff to travel to the facility to work with the students during this period of time.  Traditionally, homebound students only have limited access to instruction and teacher support.  However, with this program, students have access to teachers on a daily basis with live interaction, office hours and the benefits that often come from a classroom environment.

In addition, Fuel Education works collaboratively with a Pasco County School District representative responsible for maintaining schedules and grades in district data base and provides reporting on the student.  More than 100 districts are leveraging a similar solution as an alternative for homebound students.  To read more on the Fuel Education’s Homebound offering, click here.


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