For some, the traditional school program just is not realistic. Maybe the hours conflict with a job, maybe the scheduling does not meet academic needs but, regardless of the reason, some students find that the mainstream school system does not meet their specific needs.

Senior Troy Phares is one such student.

Due to an illness in the family, Phares felt he needed to be home more than the regular school system would allow. Phares heard about Computer Enhanced Instruction, an alternative schooling program, from senior Tyler Morris and decided to enroll this year.

“I wish I had done it sooner,” Phares said.

CEI, a division of Interagency Alternative Schools, is a “combination of teacher guidance and technology,” CEI counselor Becky Freeman said.

CEI gives more freedom to students by allowing them to complete some class work at home in return for a shorter school day.

The program’s ultimate goal is to provide a comprehensive and individually tailored program that meets “the different needs of people and students,” Freeman said.

But, despite its flexibility, Freeman stated that the course is “not for people looking for shortcuts or who just want to work at home.”

“It’s much more your own pace,” Phares said. “You don’t have to sit and wait for the class to get it.”

According to Phares, the courses are largely self-taught, which allowed him to finish the entire English course in about two weeks. He also had access to two FCPS teachers for assistance.

According to Freeman, the setup of the program means students graduate throughout the year. Phares has no official graduation date but he will attend a ceremony on June 19 for CEI students.

Phares hopes to receive the Advanced Diploma after the completion of all his courses and is looking into either getting a job in networking while taking evening college classes or enrolling at Northern Virginia Community College.