Bradley County Virtual School has more than 20 students registered. The virtual school is open to students in grades three through 12.
Virtual School Principal Zoe Renfro said the only grade being offered that does not have a student is fourth grade.
“I’ve been surprised. It seems to be pretty evenly distributed between elementary, middle and high school — about the same number in each grade,” Renfro said. “That’s an interesting phenomenon because I had no idea what to expect.”
Registration for the school ends on July 20 and can be completed online at bradleyvirtualschool.org/.
For a student to enroll and participate in Bradley County Virtual School, they must have daily access to a computer with high-speed Internet and a printer. Parents will be required to attend information meetings and orientations.
Parents are also required to sign a form agreeing to be a “learning facilitator” and ensure that their child completes all of the work required of students.
Renfro said the majority of the students attending virtual school have health issues. She said the school offers flexibility, allowing students an opportunity to work when they can and take a break if they aren’t feeling well.
She said this could be a good option for students with diabetes, for example. “It’s an exciting thing to have flexibility for our families,” Renfro said.
Renfro said students who work well independently would also do well in a virtual school setting.
Orientation for virtual school students and parents will be held at Reach Adult Education Center at the end of this month.
Renfro said the orientation meeting will discuss rules and expectations, as well as train parents and students on OdysseyWare. She said it will also provide a time for everyone to get to know each other better.
Virtual students are still required to complete 32 1/2 hours of schooling a week.
Tutoring will also be available. Elementary education will have this available two mornings a week. For middle and high school students, it will be available one afternoon a week in the core subjects. Parents and students are asked to attend any tutoring session so if students still have problems parents will be able to help them. Teachers will also have office hours where they will be available for parents to call them with questions.
“Because our students are virtual students we still know that they need that connection with their teacher, so our teachers will be required to have a class meeting — whether it is a virtual class meeting or a face-to-face class meeting — at least once a month. ... and the parents will be expected to come with the students.”
Renfro said she wanted the program to start out small and grow as the system tweaks the virtual school and further improves the program. Renfro said this will be done through input from parents in the program.
Students will be required to complete all state-mandated tests in a teacher monitored setting. For secondary schools, this will be at Reach Adult High School. Renfro said she is still looking for a site to hold the elementary school testing.
Virtual students will also have to fulfill the requirements for physical activity and fine arts courses. For high school, OdysseyWare provides a physical education course and fine arts courses. For middle school and elementary students there is not currently a set course for physical education, so Renfro will provide parents with a list of guidelines for what would qualify.
Renfro said third- through eighth-grade students are required to complete an hour of fine arts and 90 minutes of physical education activities a week. Parents will keep track of the time for these activities and submit it to the school.
Virtual school students will also be able to participate in extracurricular activities of their zoned school that take place outside of school hours, except for athletics.
For information, contact Renfro at email@example.com or 423-464-3251.