Anthony Lauer comes to CHS


Lauer’s reorganization is already underway.

As the first semester of the school year was coming to an end, Susette Jaquette, the Online Coordinator for AAPS, decided to retire. During the month of January, CR monitors Danelle Mosher, Marcia Schaffer and Rosi Simmer ran the district’s online program. The CR monitors processed applications for online classes and helped students find the online classes they needed. They took over the program at one of its busiest times, when applications for second-semester online classes flooded the CR office.

Even before Jaquette retired, the CR staff had agreed that a new person would need to be hired to manage the online program. This person would need the qualifications to help online math students, as well as the experience necessary to monitor online classes. After some searching, the CR staff and found just the person they were looking for. On Feb. 9, they welcomed Anthony Lauer to the CR office.

Anthony Lauer works on his laptop in the CR Office.

Lauer has been in the AAPS district for over ten years, teaching math at Huron and more recently at Skyline. He is very excited about his new position, and said, “So far it’s been a little bit of an adjustment, a little overwhelming. But it’s been a lot of fun. There’s a lot of excitement in the building—people are definitely excited about the alternate approach to education and the ways that I can help students.” Lauer, who trained with Susette and participated in online monitoring through the summer school math program, is still working out exactly what his new position entails. “Obviously, one component is being an online instructor. [And] part of the job is being an online monitor.”After one month at Community, Lauer is becoming more accustomed to its no-bells and first-name policies. “The first day, I forgot to eat lunch because I’m used to having the bells to kind of structure my day,” Lauer said.

Even before he was hired by Community, Lauer had been considering new ways to improve the online program. Right now, most online classes are facilitated by Michigan Virtual High School, a division of Michigan Virtual University. In the future, Lauer hopes to create classes on the Ann Arbor Public Schools Moodle which will better meet the district’s core requirements. “I think as the district starts to develop these programs…you’ll see more Moodle classes available than MVHS classes,” Lauer said. “At this point, there’s a consensus that MVHS…is going to give students the best experience and prepare them the most for college.” Lauer has already made some changes to the program—some online, some offline. Google Forms, one of Lauer’s creations, help CR monitors keep track of proctored tests. Lauer has also begun a reorganization effort in the CR office, in the hopes of using the available space more efficiently.

Lauer's reorganization is already underway.

In addition to being the AAPS Online Coordinator, Lauer, like Jaquette before him, also heads an alternative program that allows students to take courses online and outside of the traditional classroom setting. Known as the Options Magnet, the program is based at Community because applications for online courses and Community Resource classes are processed by the CHS staff. Students who participate in Options are known as seat-time waiver students. “The state of Michigan believes that students don’t need to spend a certain number of hours in a seat, and that’s the seat-time waiver,” said Dean Jennifer Hein about the program.

Students in the Options Program must enroll through their geographic home high school. They are then able to split-enroll into in-building classes at any of the other high schools, though they are limited to three in-building classes per semester. Their other classes must be taken online or as CRs.

There are about 20 students currently in the Options Program, and Lauer is hoping to expand it in the coming years. But before the program is more widely advertised, Lauer wants to make sure that it would be able to handle a potential increase in the number of enrolled students. “We want to make sure we have the policies and the ability so that, if we promote [Options] a lot and get a huge influx of students, we…have the ability to support that, without creating a situation where we either have to turn people away or we have to…offer a more diluted support. Through the rest of this year, we’ll really be looking at what needs to be in place, what we can do, and how the program is going to evolve in terms of course offerings and staff.

“[Susette] has done groundbreaking work,” Lauer added. “This is the forefront, and I think this is where education is going.”