Roanoke Rapids Graded School District announced its plans Tuesday night to open RRGSD Virtual Academy beginning next school year to expand options for local families living in the district and to entice students who may have historically chosen to homeschool or enroll in national virtual learning programs.
“We want to continue to offer flexible pathways for families and more school choice. We hope that families who left RRGSD for home school options will choose to return to us for this virtual option since all classes will be taught by certified teachers,” Julie Thompson, Assistant Superintendent told the board.
The daily structure of the RRGSD Virtual Academy will focus on three areas. The first is a daily schedule that maintains the same components of the school day as their grade-level peers attending in-person, to the extent possible. The second is a social-emotional component that gives students access to counseling and social-emotional support from their home base school staff. The third is a sense of community that will allow students learning virtually to experience intentional efforts on the part of the school staff to ensure they have meaningful connections with each other and to create a true classroom community.
Students attending the virtual academy will experience the RRGSD Core instructional program and will be standards-aligned and focusing on ensuring student mastery of the content. Grades will be consistent with the in-person environment and aligned with Board policy. Students who receive specially designed instruction through an IEP or have disability services through a 504 plan will continue to be provided services as outlined in their individualized plans.
“We’re asking families to commit to at least one full school year as we will be committing teachers to this program,” Thompson added.
All students enrolled in the virtual academy will be assigned a specific certified elementary and or middle school teacher. For grades 7-8, where teachers specialize in content areas, students will have multiple teachers. To the degree possible, the teacher will be from their home base school. Instruction will be provided utilizing a common learning platform and learning opportunities will be both recorded and have live instructional sessions.
High school students will have the opportunity to continue to take courses through North Carolina Virtual Public High School and Halifax Community College in addition to courses taught by RRHS teachers.
Due to developmental appropriateness, the district will not offer the virtual academy option for students enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten at this time.
“This is new for us and a much needed pathway we can offer to keep students enrolled. The district will begin the application process in April for the 2021-2022 school year,” said Dr. Dain Butler, Superintendent.