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Virtual school registration deadline nears

By Staff | May 10, 2018

Registration for middle and high school students who wish to take virtual summer courses through Lee Virtual School will close Monday.

Lee Virtual School Principal Al Shilling said they are offering virtual courses for original credit in grades 7 through 12, which are the core academic areas of English, math, science and social studies. In addition, driver’s education and HOPE (health, occupation and physical education) are also available as summer courses.

The single most requested virtual course in Lee County is HOPE because students do not have to change for the course. Shilling said the course centers around a fitness log, doing exercises while keeping track of executing it the correct way through videos and images. In addition, HOPE explores an in-depth look at physiology, as well as topics relating to what one should eat and behave.

“There’s a lot of information about unhealthy choices, lifestyle type of stuff,” he said.

The second most requested course is driver’s education because students have the ability to take the drug and alcohol portion, which is required for a license, online for $40, as well as take one stab at doing their permit test free online.

Students who are interested in signing up for the courses must do so no later than Monday, May 14, through their guidance counselor, or online at lvip.leeschools.net

Schilling said the courses will be taught by 12 teachers.

“Within our program for the summer we do have a cap based on the number of teachers for what we have for a program,” he said of how many students can register for one course. “We are a franchise for Florida Virtual School. We are able to overflow the students to Florida Virtual School.”

Unfortunately with this option, students have to get in line with every other student in the state of Florida to get the same class.

“When a student takes a course from Florida Virtual School a portion of the FTE, one-twelfth, which is about $430, never comes here. It goes to Florida Virtual School. It is deducted from money here,” he explained. “We are trying to do what we can to have better due diligence to save money.”

Lee Virtual School typically has about 350 full-time students and just under 2,000 part-time students. The part-time students consist of middle school and high school students taking one or more of their scheduled classes online.

Throughout the school year, Shilling said the part-time students are taking classes that are either not offered at their school, taking an advanced course, or retaking a class.

Schilling said next year they are coordinating with fourth and fifth graders at the Alva School to offer a middle school keyboarding course to teach them about typing and organizing files.

The virtual courses are an online interactive workbook with a very high degree of teacher, student interaction. He said there are no textbooks.

A student works and reads through material, as well as various exercises, such as projects, quizzes and essays. At the end of the module, the student has to complete a discussion-based assessment.

“It’s one of the ways we have to make sure the students are doing the work,” Shilling said.

The students are provided with a pace chart, which deciphers how much work they need to complete in a week. For a regular semester it’s typically three or four assignments a week over the 16-week course.

For summer classes, which are eight-week courses, students are responsible for six to eight assignments a week to finish a full course.

The summer semester begins Monday, June 4, and ends July 24.