Summer offers students a chance to get to Head of the Class - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Summer offers students a chance to get to Head of the Class

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Michelle Reese covers education for the Tribune and blogs about motherhood and family issues at http://blogs.evtrib.com/evmoms. Contact her at mreese@evtrib.com

Michelle Reese covered education for the Tribune, also blogging about motherhood and family issues at http://blogs.evtrib.com/evmoms.

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 10:23 am | Updated: 3:34 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

Math? Science? Spanish?

During summer?

Before your kids balk at the idea, parents should check out www.theheadoftheclass.com. The Prescott-based organization is offering its online curriculum free to Arizona students. Preschool through fifth grade are covered. The website offers online programs as well as printouts. Parents can also sign up and get a customized program.

Kris Jamsa came up with the idea more than a decade ago.

“We started looking at technology to see how we could use technology to better instruct learners,” he said.

At the time, Internet speeds weren’t fast enough to do what Jamsa was trying to accomplish.

The world is different now.

“We can actually do this. We started designing learning activities. We went out and studied the curriculum of all 50 dates and looked at core standards,” he said.

Between multiplication flashcards, worksheets, spelling, math and more, there are 10,000 learning activities on the website.

Jamsa’s site doesn’t have advertising. He is hoping to attract corporate sponsorship to continue funding the learning activities.

Mesa Sen. Rich Crandall said he learned about The Head of the Class from a fellow lawmaker and held a press conference recently to spread news about the program.

Even his own kids are using it.

“What I like about Kris, his heart is in the right place on this,” Crandall said. “It’s just some guys trying to do something good (in light of) the budget cuts.”

Besides a Ph.D. in computer science, an MBA and four undergraduate degrees, Jamsa holds a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in education.

“We released our first website about 18 months ago. Since then we have 30,000 beta testers around the world in 25 countries and all 50 states. We have thousands of homeschoolers who use nothing but Head of the Class as their curriculum,” he said.

The website recently launched a 60-day program for summer that prepares learners for the next school year. Though it goes through fifth grade now, Jamsa anticipates sixth grade being ready by the end of July.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or mreese@evtrib.com

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