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Virtual School 101

Virtual School 101

Thank you for your interest in online learning.  For over a decade, Lee Virtual School (LVS) has sought to innovate learning for students in grades Kindergarten through 12.  Prior to making a decision as important as what type of school a student will attend, it is important to know as much as possible about the school and how learning works.  The following is a collection of many years of questions from students, parents, and community members. The answers provided are meant for informational and clarification purposes. If you have additional questions or to request enrollment information, please contact our office at 239.­337.­8178.

 

What is a virtual school? 

By definition, virtual education is teaching and learning in which students and teachers are separated by space and/or time. In its purest form, teachers and students have no physical contact during the instruction process. Historically, virtual education took the form of “distance learning,” or “correspondence classes.” With the advent of computers, the internet, smartphones, tablets, etc., virtual education has become the fastest-growing form of education in North America.

 

How can there be a full-time virtual school and part-time virtual?

 All students in Florida can request one or more online courses as part of or in addition to their school day.  Home Education, Private and Charter school students can also take one or more public virtual courses and receive credit for them.  These are all examples of “part-time” virtual enrollments. A “full time” virtual student is actually enrolled with a district virtual school such as Lee Virtual School.  Their records including course progression, attendance, identification, and testing are managed by the school the same way as any other public school.

 

What are the differences between virtual school and Home School?

Home education is a parent-directed education. Homeschool parents can choose an individualized curriculum that reflects their own beliefs and ideas as they see fit to their child’s learning style. Parents are the teachers in home education. Home education might not necessarily reflect the same grade levels in place at formal school settings. Parents monitor attendance and progress and obtain and direct all curriculum and activities. Curriculum, materials, and activities are all organized and paid for by the homeschool parent. The parent is solely responsible for the instruction progress and record keeping. These can come from a variety of places including faith-based resources and curricula.

In contrast, a virtual public school is a structured public school within the home of each participant. The virtual public school provides a complete and comprehensive curriculum that is on par with equal courses in a traditional school environment. This curriculum contains the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values their child must acquire. All materials are provided by the school. Virtual school students move at a minimum predetermined pace and meet specific chronological benchmarks and performance assessments. A certified teacher provides instruction and oversees the curriculum and progress of the student.   The faith­-based curriculum cannot be provided by the district. Full-time virtual students have access to additional activities including field trips, clubs, academic days, award and graduation ceremonies, that are not available to home education students. Full-time virtual students have an assigned school counselor for educational and curriculum guidance and assist with placement in courses and college.

 

Who takes virtual courses?

Students and families seeking quality education through a flexible format are potential Lee Virtual School (LVS) students. LVS students are students who benefit from individualized instruction. Typically, these include athletes, performers, and students with commitments outside of the educational environment to their faith, family or personal goals that preclude them from learning according to a traditional daily school schedule. LVS enrolls highly motivated students who prefer to accelerate, students who travel, students with medical issues, and homeschooled students.

 

How does it work?

The Lee Virtual School (LVS) has full time elementary, middle and high school as well as part-time options. Although all are administered from the same office and focus on students independently achieving their fullest potential, the operation of each program is slightly different. LVS Elementary is mainly a full time, K­ through 5 learning option that utilizes indirect instruction and a combination of a book based and on­line resources.  Some courses can be used in a part-time capacity. It is very challenging from a scheduling and teaching perspective to utilize part-time online courses for students younger than 4th grade.

LVS full-time 6-­12 is completely online and, like elementary, is the student’s school of enrollment. Full-time students do not attend a brick and mortar school at all. Students typically work at home, under the supervision of a learning coach. A learning coach is an adult (usually a parent) that is responsible for making sure that the student stays on pace and in regular contact with teachers. At the elementary level, this learning coach is the actual facilitator of learning. That is, the learning coach is responsible for preparing each day's learning activities and providing most of the face to face instruction for the student. As students progress through grade levels, they become more independent and require less instructional assistance. By the time students are in grade 6, they work in an autonomous, direct instruction online environment. They receive all instruction from their teacher and online courseware. Aside from some novels for Language Arts/English courses and AP Course materials, the curriculum for grades 6-12 is entirely online. It is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days/week, 365 days per year. This creates universal access in which an independent learner will thrive and achieve at a rate that is difficult to do in a traditional classroom setting.

 

Does it cost anything? 

Lee Virtual School is a public school within the School District of Lee County and is free.  Full-time students at all grade levels are issued a computer and a district student account to manage all of their digital class files.

 

I am behind in required credits for my age/grade level.  Can I catch up as a full-time LVS student?

Probably not.  LVS does not offer credit recovery courses.  All of our courses are original credit only. They can be used for grade forgiveness; however, they require the same amount of time in the course.  Since students are typically limited to 6 courses/credits/year, there is no opportunity for a student to “make up” credits.  

 

I always get my work done early in my classes.  I want to accelerate and finish my current grade level early.  Is that possible with LVS?

Yes.  Students can advance as quickly as they demonstrate mastery of the material in a course.  Students receive credit as soon as they complete a course and can advance to the next level of a subject or grade level.

 

How do I know if virtual school will be good for me or my child? 

Virtual education, as it exists today, is not necessarily the best fit for all students. Virtual curriculum is written for students at or above grade level in reading and math skills. By its nature, virtual learning is approximately 97% reading. Students who struggle with reading or are not reading and comprehending at the same level as other students in their grade level/age, will have a difficult time and are likely to be unsuccessful in a virtual program. In addition, there is a certain level of technical ability required for parents of virtual students. The communication and learning coach responsibilities require some basic knowledge of electronic communication by parents and students alike. Students need to be able to communicate with teachers frequently. Students that have difficulty staying on task for a prolonged period of time, will face challenges with virtual learning. In addition, students and families that have difficulty with time management, keeping appointments, or committing to responsible lifelong learning will likely not be successful with virtual school.

 

Is online learning safe?

All virtual classes are conducted in a secure online learning system that features strictly protected communication protocols that essentially eliminate external threats and interference to the educational process. We provide internet filtering while students are using their school computer.  That being said, it is important to note, that there is no physical oversight provided into your home from our school. School issued computers & devices feature regularly updated monitoring and filtering software and may also be monitored by the School District.

 

What classes are offered?

The Lee Virtual School offers all the basic/core subject areas (Math, English, Science, Social Studies) for grades K­12 available at any other public school. In addition, for grades 6-­12, LVS offers a diverse array of elective courses including Spanish, Personal and Family Finance, Keyboarding, Digital Media & Web Design, Culinary, Photography, Creative Writing, Drivers Education, Personal Fitness, plus many more. Please refer to our course catalog for a complete listing for each school year!

 

Who can I can talk to get more information?

After visiting our website, http://lvip.leeschools.net,  free to contact our administrative, guidance, support or instructional staff.  All numbers are listed and we are all prepared to answer any questions or help you find the answers you seek. You can call the LVS office at 239.­337.­8178 between 8 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). We also offer monthly information nights. 

Visit our website http://lvip.leeschools.net for more information.

 

Does LVS follow the same calendar as the school district?

As another quality school within the Lee County School District, our full-time programs follow the same school year calendar as all other district public schools.  We have abbreviated offerings of core academic courses, driver’s ed and HOPE during our 8 week summer session.

 

When are classes offered?

Full time enrollment courses are offered beginning on the first day of the school year and ending on the last. Enrollment and orientation must occur prior to a student starting as a full time LVS student. LVS offers two enrollment application periods. Application for the upcoming school year begins around the beginning of February and closes no later than 30 days prior to the first day of school (usually by July 1st). There is also a mid year Full time enrollment offered. Students enrolling at mid year, start on the first day of the second semester. The application period for mid year enrollment typically runs for about three weeks from November to early December prior to school dismissing for winter break. STUDENTS CAN NOT BE ENROLLED AS FULL TIME LEE VIRTUAL STUDENTS UNLESS THEY HAVE COMPLETED THE APPLICATION AND ORIENTATION PROCESS. Students throughout Lee County can enroll in part time grades 6-12 courses from August through February. Limited courses are offered through our summer session.  

 

What do students do if they have questions or problems while taking a course?

Just as in a traditional classroom, our teachers are here to assist students and help them learn, so a student's first stop should be their teacher. A student may email, text, instant message or call a teacher any time for assistance. Teachers are available 8AM-­8PM Mon­-Fri on all days school is scheduled. Teachers will respond to students in 24 hours or less (usually much less). Face to face assistance by appointment is available when needed.  Technical help is available in most courses 24 hours/day via the help center hotline.

 

How do parents know the status of a student in virtual courses?

 Parents have complete access to both part time and full-time student’s work. They can create a “guardian account” or use their student’s account to see what work the student has submitted, what grade has been received and read the feedback provided by teachers.  All information is immediately updated showing student progress in real time.

 

Do I need to physically sit in a school building to take a class?

No, but you can! Full time virtual students do not typically work from a school. However, students at district schools can request and be placed in a virtual course(s) and then complete work at school, home or both.

 

Are students allowed to accelerate through courses?

Yes. Students can advance as rapidly as they can learn as long as the assignments, assessments and other course work is done properly and in order.

 

Are students able to meet in person with their teachers? 

The Lee Virtual School prides itself on student contact. All LVS teachers are available for face to face assistance by appointment when other instructional methods are not effective.  This is a part of our “checklist for success.”

 

What are the face to face requirements for full time LVS students?

Full time LVS students are required to attend mandatory events at the school office approximately 5-­10 times per year. This number is higher for K-5 elementary students who are required to have a minimum of ten “contact hours” with their teacher each quarter. All full time LVS students MUST attend the following events: First day(s) of school, class meetings, student conferences, portfolio reviews, ALL district & state required testing, and mandatory proctored assessments.

 

What happens if a student does not attend mandatory events?

LVS publishes and maintains an online calendar that includes all events for a school year. Testing dates are published well in advance. Specific times for testing are published well in advance as well. As a result, it is an expectation that students and parents will make individual arrangements to attend these required events. In the event that a student does not attend or participate in a required event, the student will be submitted for withdrawal. Although these situations are handled on a case by case basis, it should be clearly understood that committing to enrollment with the Lee Virtual School is committing to diligently attending these events which represent less than 5% of the days of school. Mandatory events apply ONLY to full time students enrolled with the Lee Virtual School.

 

Can LVS students participate in extracurricular activities?

Lee Virtual School also offers enrichment activities including activity days, field trips, and clubs. Students are encouraged to partake in our activities and socialize with other students. In addition, students in grades 6-­12 may participate in intramural, extracurricular and FHSAA sports and activities. Students are assigned to a school within the assignment zone where they reside. This process is handled entirely by the office of student assignment. Students enrolled with the Lee Virtual are not typically able to participate in elective courses (music, art, shop, etc.) at other schools. However, there is limited availability at certain schools and in certain classes. These vary from year to year based upon enrollment at the school. Please contact LVS Guidance or Administration for assistance with this process.

 

Do Lee Virtual Students have to participate in State or District testing?

All full time LVS students must participate in all state and district testing. “Opting out” is not an option for full time virtual students per FL statue 1002.45. Part time students whose school of enrollment is NOT LVS, test at the school or location determined by their school of enrollment.  Home Education Program students are assigned to a testing location by the HEP office.

 

How do I register for virtual classes? 

Individual courses can be requested by visiting the LVS website and clicking on the ‘ENROLLMENT’ link under PART TIME STUDENTS at ​http://lvip.leeschools.net​. Full time LVS students work with their assigned counselor and/or administrator to select required and elective courses.

 

How do I know what courses to register for?

Students can request any course that they are interested in as long as they meet the prerequisite(s) for the course. Students may request a course for grade forgiveness but they have to have received a grade of D or lower initially. Consult with your school counselor for additional information.  Students may not retake a high school course in which a grade of C or higher was issued in order to receive a higher grade. In addition, students may NOT enroll in the same course(s) they are currently enrolled in. Additional information on course selection is available from school counselors. Lee Virtual School does not offer “credit recovery” courses.

 

Are LVS classes recognized/accredited? Will they transfer to other schools and be accepted by college?

LVS is an SACS/CASI accredited public school. In addition, our course and diploma are recognized and accepted by NCAA Division 1 colleges and universities, all branches of the United States Military, Merchant Marines, as well as all public schools in the state of Florida.

 

Where did Lee Virtual School come from?

The Lee Virtual School was started in 2009 when the state of Florida passed statute 1002.45 which requires each school district to offer full time virtual instruction as an educational choice for all students in grades K-­12. From our humble beginnings in the 2009-­2010 school year in which we had 1 graduate and less than 50 students in grades K­-12, we have grown to having around 400 full time students and over 2000 part time students.  In addition:

·         Top District led elementary virtual program in the state of Florida

·         Consistently ranked in the top 3 virtual programs 

·         Ranked in the top 10% of ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS in the state and the top 1/3rd in the nation according to US News and World Report

 

Does Lee Virtual School receive a grade like other district schools? What is it?

Lee Virtual School is graded the same way all Florida public schools are. We are proud to say we are consistently in the top 10% of ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS in the state.   LVS is currently an A school.

 

How do students complete tests and assignments in virtual classes?

In Middle School and High School, students complete all tests and assignments online within their virtual classes. Most assignments are submitted electronically as a document. There are also numerous oral assessments that are accomplished via phone, internet conference or in person.

 

How do students receive grades?

Students receive grades based on their performance on assignments, projects, discussion based assessments, quizzes, tests and exams. Students can see their gradebook when they log into their virtual class. Parents can independently monitor student performance using their own login or personal “guardian account.”  Official report cards are sent via regular postal mail to students home of residence at the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters.

 

What textbooks are used?

Elementary students use texts, workbooks and online materials that follow state standards closely.  Currently, our curriculum for elementary school comes from Pearson/Connections. Students in Middle School and High School use virtual, interactive curriculum.  24 hours a day, 7 days a week! The only texts are for novels (if desired) and some Advance Placement and Dual Enrollment courses. 

 

Are honors courses available?

Yes! Students are able to take Honors and/or Advanced classes.

 

Are AP (advanced placement) courses available?

Yes! Students can choose to take a variety of Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

 

Can virtual students enroll in dual enrollment courses at a college or university?

Yes! Students can choose to enroll in dual enrollment courses just like any other Lee County high school student.   They must meet college admission requirements. There is no charge for the courses.

 

How are ESE students with an IEP handled?

Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students each have a written Individual Education Plan (IEP) that documents goals, accommodations and strategies used to create an accommodation learning environment that is least restrictive to a student in order to create a method for the student to achieve. LVS teachers of both full time and part time students are aware of student's unique needs and accommodations set forth in their IEP. ESE Students applying for full time enrollment with LVS are essentially changing the delivery method of their instruction. As a result, an IEP review has to be conducted before a student can be permanently enrolled with LVS. It is important to note, that through this process, it may be determined that virtual instruction is NOT the best fit for a student with certain special needs. LVS is a “school of choice” and therefore does not offer all of the services that may be available at other schools. LVS complies with all district, state and federal laws regarding ESE and IDEA.

 

Does LVS follow the same grading scale as other district schools?
LVS follows the same grading scale as all other Lee County Schools: 90-100 A 80-­90 B 70-­80 C 60-­70 D 0­-59.99 F

 

Is LVS approved by the NCAA?

LVS is SACS/CASI accredited and our  courses are NCAA Division 1 approved.

 

Are virtual teachers as good as traditional classroom teachers? Are they highly qualified?

Absolutely! Virtual teachers have the same qualifications as traditional classroom teachers. All LVS teachers are highly qualified in their respective subject area. In addition, many LVS teachers and administrators bring an array of professional experience outside of education to their teaching including post graduate degrees and action based research.

 

What is the difference between Lee Virtual School and Florida Virtual School?

Lee Virtual School (LVS) is a Lee County public school. Our teachers and staff are part of our community. Our work schedule, pay scales and events align with those of the district. The funding generated from public tax revenue is put into our students and teachers right here in Lee County. Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is a statewide provider of public virtual education for students in grades 6-­12. LVS is a franchise of FLVS. That is, we use FLVS curriculum, systems and follow their guidelines. However, the way we manage our teachers, teach our students and incorporate unique learning activities is completely designed and implemented locally. When students complete a class with FLVS, the revenue generated is diverted to FLVS, which is located in Orange County. That revenue is deducted from the money earmarked for Lee County students. Over the past 5 years, LVS has reduced the amount of FTE (Full Time Equivalent: the amount of tax dollars returned to Lee County for public education) that is deducted for students taking virtual courses with FLVS. Keeping student learning, teachers and tax dollars here in Lee County is a critical difference between LVS and FLVS. Students enrolled in FLVS are limited to 3 courses at a time. LVS has no limit on enrollments or class load. FLVS accepts all 6-­12 students in all courses year round. LVS has set aside specific windows of enrollment to best serve our students and coincide with the needs of all district schools. LVS offers courses not available through FLVS. We also offer the ability for students to meet face to face with teachers, guidance and administration which is a key component of a truly student centered learning environment.

 

Can students receive a diploma through LVS?

Yes. Students enrolled with LVS who meet all the requirements of graduation as set forth by the Florida Department of Education will receive a High School diploma. We have a graduation ceremony that is the same as any other high school in Lee County. The majority of LVS graduates go on to colleges and Universities in Florida as well as out of state public and private universities, the armed forces, and career and technical schools.

 

What is the difference between a diploma from LVS and other public high schools?

There is no difference.

 

What happens if a student decides that LVS isn’t for them after enrolling?

During the first 14 days of each semester, students are in what is called a “grace period.” During that period, students may opt to drop a class or withdraw from LVS and enroll elsewhere with no consequence. If a student stops working or is not successful beyond the 14 day period, the following may occur:

● Withdrawal and referral to school assignment office

● Withdrawal to a private or charter school

● Withdrawal to homeschool with reduced course load

 

Is there any type of orientation for students prior to enrolling in virtual school?

Part time students can request individual or multiple courses and promptly begin working in the course with simple guidance from the assigned teacher during the “welcome call.” Full time LVS grade K-­12 students are required to attend a face to face orientation session accompanied by at least one parent or guardian. Students will not be enrolled as a full-time virtual student without attending this orientation. Students and parents are presented with information and discussion to prepare them for virtual learning as their primary means of learning.

 

What is the difference between fulltime and part time virtual school?

Full Time Virtual students are enrolled with the Lee Virtual School recorded as their “school of enrollment.”  Students are sometimes enrolled at one school and receive additional instruction from another. In this situation, the second school is referred to as the “school of instruction” for the courses served from that school. Part time virtual school is when a public, private or home education enrolled student takes one or more courses but retains another school as their “school of enrollment.”

 

What is a “hybrid” enrollment?

Hybrid enrollment is when a student participates in half of their classes virtually and half of them on a traditional campus.

 

What is blended instruction/learning?

Blended instruction is an environment in which a student learns at least in part through online learning, and in part in a supervised brick and mortar location away from home. These are typically virtual courses offered in a classroom environment in a traditional school setting.  It is virtual learning under the direct supervision of a teacher.

 

What are the options for elementary students to take virtual classes?

Students in grades K-­5 may enroll as full time LVS students during either the annual or mid year enrollment application window. In addition, students in grades 4­-5 who achieve a level four or higher equivalent on a standardized state test, are able to enroll in middle school elective or core courses and receive middle school credit.

 

How many courses can a student take at one time?

Full time students must be enrolled in 6 courses at the beginning of each term in order to remain in good standing. Part time students may take 1­-3 courses. In some cases, in the best interest of a student, more courses may be scheduled.

 

Will virtual school/courses replace traditional classrooms and schools?

Virtual teaching and learning is one of, if not THE fastest learning environment in North America. However, there are many learning experiences that are not best served by an “all virtual” learning system. Blended, hybrid and similar dynamic teaching models which incorporate opportunities for students to work independently to achieve their potential represent the changing face of education. The Lee Virtual School is proud to be a leader and innovator in this uncharted territory.

 

Lee Virtual School Facts and Achievements

Approximately 400 Full Time students, and 2000 part time students throughout the year.

Average teacher ratio 145 students/teachers (25:1)

92% Graduation Rate (Class of 2019)

College bound ​65% (Class of 2018)

65% of LVS courses offered are accelerated (AP, Honors, Dual Enrollment)

Over 30% of students are involved in a club activity

5%​ of FT students participate in ​private, competitive​ athletics ​

 
Achievements:

·         Over ​$890,000​ million​ in scholarships in the past ​three​ ​four​ years

·         Florida Virtual School Franchise of the Year (17/18 School Year) 

·         US News and World Report Top 10% of all Public Schools in the United States

·         Ranked in the top 10% of ​ALL​ PUBLIC SCHOOLS in Florida     

·         Consistently top ranked district led elementary program in Florida 

·         Teaching staff: 30 full time, degree and certified veteran education professionals, 33%+ have advanced degrees (masters or higher)   

·         Administration and Support: Principal, Assistant Principal, Home Education Counselor, Guidance Counselor, and office support staff including Executive Assistant, Information Specialist, Home Education Secretary, and Technology Specialist

 

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