Shelbyville Central Schools has added a new school – one without walls.
Shelbyville Central Virtual School will present students with a different educational opportunity beginning this fall.
“It is a necessary move going forward and continuing to provide the education that students need,” said Andy Snow, the virtual school’s director. “And it is a necessary step because we’ve lost some students throughout the years to virtual programs and we are trying to bring those students back to Shelbyville Central Schools.”
The application process is underway. The registration form is at Shelbyville Central Schools’ website (scs.shelbycs.org).
For questions and more information, contact Snow (photo) at 318-398-1106 or send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through the virtual option, students can avoid classrooms on a daily basis. However, the online curriculum will match what students are working on at each grade level and there will be an accountability factor.
“They will have the same expectations as if they were in the classroom as far as attendance goes,” said Snow. “They will need to log in five days a week and we have a set number of hours for each grade level that they are expected to be there.
“And based on their attention span and grade level, all the lessons will be differentiated for their grade level.”
Snow, SCS Technology Integration Specialist and a former teacher at Loper Elementary School in Shelbyville, will monitor all virtual students’ progress with the online learning system Edgenuity.
“It will provide educational support because every lesson provided has a video component to it, an instructor on screen just as if they were sitting in a classroom watching an instructor,” he said.
And if students are struggling with a particular subject, there will be teachers within the SCS system assigned to provide assistance.
“We will have instructors for each content area – a math instructor, a language instructor, a science instructor and so on so we can provide them with the instruction they need to be successful,” said Snow.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced school systems to improve online learning as an option but Snow believes virtual education was already trending toward reality in grades K-12.
“I think that this is a direction that education was headed even without the pandemic. I think the pandemic sped the process up,” he said. “I graduated from Western Governors University, which is an online college – and that was pre-pandemic. A lot of your colleges were already headed in that direction and I think K-12 education would eventually have followed suit.”
SCS has looked at other virtual schools as models and Edgenuity will meet all Indiana state standards for education.
While students will not be in an actual classroom, they will have the opportunity to join athletic programs at Shelbyville High School, Shelbyville Middle School and the elementary schools, and they can participate in Blue River Career Programs.
Those enrolling also will receive iPads from SCS and access to hot spots if they have limited internet access, according to Snow.
“There will a technology fee associated with it, but it would be about the same if they were in-person,” he said.
SCS currently had approximately 258 students district-wide learning virtually in 2020-2021.
Shelbyville Central Virtual School is capped at 300 students between kindergarten and 12th grade.