This was a session presented by Nicole Adams (SC Connections Academy), Pam Sanders (Palmetto State E-cademy) and Donna Strom (SC Virtual Charter School) at the SC Council for Exceptional Children. It really cleared up a lot of myths and I learned a lot of interesting information.
Here are my notes:
1. Total students enrolled are 9,967 with 1077 special education students.
2. There are 8288 virtual students with 884 special education students.
3. This is not a home school.
4. Materials are provided.
5. Free/reduced lunch applications are accepted in order to get Title 1 funding and services.
6. Funded at 75% from the state.
7. This is a virtual school not program that has a total high school curriculum with full time students. Core subjects and related arts including PE are taught.
8. Students receive a state high school diploma (same graduation, attendance, reporting requirements as regular high schools)
9. Students must be enrolled in only one school district (not the virtual and other)
10. Students must be in good standing with residential school district including proof of residency and immunization.
11. Must have internet access (at home or public library or elsewhere)
12. Special Education Teachers are certified, highly qualified, state employees
13. Related services: OT and PT are face to face only; virtual speech cannot be billed to Medicaid
14. IEP meetings online 98% of the time.
15. State testing (HSAP, EOCEP) are face to face in various locations across the state.
As mentioned in the presentation, this is not a perfect fit for everyone but I like how it is an be alternative for some. I would think being a teacher at a virtual school would be great too! I don’t foresee a lot of in class behavior problems. I do think students would have to be self motivated and responsible to be successful in this. I’m not sure I would want my teenager at home alone without supervision and expect him/her to “attend” school regularly. For a student to be more successful, I would imagine that at least an adult would need to be home to make sure the student fulfills the responsibility of attending virtual school (I mean, they are still “children” in my eyes.)
Do you have virtual schools in your district? How do they work? How successful is the school and/or the students? Please share.
Original Image by Pat Hensley