Virtual Academy changing at FHS

Franklin High School photo by Vickie Carpenter

Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer

Franklin High School (FHS) is planning on changing the way virtual academy is delivered to students. Starting in January a new online platform will be offered to students who still wish to remain in the virtual classes.  The objective is to put FHS in a position to transition to more days of face-to-face instruction if that option becomes available to them by the Governor.  Under this plan, virtual learning may not be a good fit for every student. Students and parents should weigh the information regarding this new platform, against their reasons for choosing virtual instruction.  

Among the changes is that elective offerings will be limited to business courses. The program will be self-paced and each course will be constructed in a complete form so that it can be assessed as a whole with no ending date. It will continue from start to finish. Students enrolled in the program will need to be highly motivated and eager to complete assignments.  There will not be a report card, but rather a progress report that will show parents more than a report card would. It will include the percentage of the course that is finished and the numerical grade.  Standard and honors level classes will be available to all students. Seniors will have the opportunity to enroll in Advanced Placement courses through Southwestern Community College or the North Carolina Virtual Public School Program (NCVPS).  Foreign language credit for virtual students will also be earned through NCVPS and will be reserved for seniors in need of meeting college admission requirements.  Grades will be recorded on the high school transcript and will contribute to the GPA (grade point average) calculation. 

The purpose of this change is to offer a more consistent approach to learning and to improve each semester for the students.  The new platform is a licensed, and highly qualified curriculum product.  Instructional videos, practice activities and assessments are included along with a highly qualified facilitator available for support. Google Meets will no longer be necessary.  Should students be allowed to return to a five day a week agenda, it would be nearly impossible for teachers to teach in person and virtual. FHS has secured a plan to alternate cohorts for on campus attendance on Fridays, beginning in January.  

“We are excited to increase face to face instruction and make the most of opportunities for engagement,” said FHS Assistant Principal Pam Roper.  “We have committed to this structure for our virtual program for next semester only. We are confident that no student will be in jeopardy of not meeting graduation requirements due to lack of course offerings.”

The decision to choose 100% virtual instruction may be made at any time during or before the spring semester. However, the decision to return to blended or face-to-face instruction will not be possible during that semester. If virtual instruction is chosen, changes will be made to the student schedules as needed.  Virtual students may participate in club and athletic opportunities, but outside of school hours only. Students will be responsible for their own internet connectivity, using available hotspots when necessary. Jet packs will be available to FHS students as supplies dictate.