CLOVERDALE — Students in the Cloverdale District who want to expand their coursework, as well as those who might be more successful learning online, now have the opportunity to do so.
At its regular meeting Monday evening, the Cloverdale School Board approved that Cloverdale Schools begin offering what has been dubbed the Cloverdale Virtual Success Academy.
The program will be offered through the Edmentum learning environment, specifically its EdOptions Academy. The online school’s mission is to provide fully accredited courses in a variety of subjects.
Beginning a joint presentation to the board, Superintendent Greg Linton said trustees have been working on the program for the past 18 months. With the spread of COVID-19, he added that the circumstances he has brought have shown the need for an online avenue for students.
Cloverdale High School Principal Sonny Stoltz then put into perspective the need for an online academy when it comes to homeschooling, pointing out that more and more students are now homeschooled for different reasons. .
??High schools are under pressure to succeed,?? said Stoltz. He focused on how home-schooled students ultimately matter in graduation rates. Another frustration is when a home-schooled student may come into the company and want to graduate, but are late.
One distinction that Linton and Stoltz pointed out was that the Virtual Success Academy is not the same as online learning. The idea is to give Cloverdale students flexibility, they said, while still providing counseling and special education services.
Stoltz said the Virtual Success Academy is all about options. The academy would offer 280 one-semester virtual classes and accommodate full-time or part-time students. This allows parents to keep home schooling, while remaining in business.
Those eligible include home-schooled and housebound students, as well as those on credit recovery.
The academy would also be available to students wishing to diversify their course loads and those who have documented medical or emotional issues that would hinder success in the classroom.
The distribution for kindergarten through fifth grade would be for students to have four core classes and two electives per year. From sixth to twelfth grade, six online courses would cover one semester. Stoltz added that the 18-week courses match the regular nine-week grading periods.
One of the benefits of the program, Stoltz said, is that it would allow students to enroll in courses that he says may not be offered in the future.
This would include teaching foreign languages such as Latin or Mandarin Chinese.
It would not be necessary for the company to commit to investing in full-year courses. That would help, given that the academy might not have more than 30 entry-level students.
An application, which can be found at the school office or on the CCSC webpage, must be completed by the student and a parent. An interview would then take place with the headmaster of the school, who would have the discretion to decide whether a student enters or can remain at the academy.
Stoltz thinks the expectation of being online six hours a day and completing all homework would deter students who are just hoping to quit school. This, he said, is what really separates the online academy from online learning.
Linton said the program would cost $2,900 per student, with the company partially reimbursed. As such, no charge would be attached to the students.
Stoltz will be the academy principal, with two advisers covering grades 1-8 and 9-12, respectively. Teachers would be provided by EdOptions, but those from Cloverdale could apply to teach in the program.
The Cloverdale Virtual Success Academy is set to begin on August 12. It was also pointed out that only students in the Cloverdale School District would be allowed to apply.
In other cases:
?? The board also approved an application for permission for a Notice of Hearing regarding proposed construction projects at the three Cloverdale schools. Linton said these would mainly relate to HVAC and electrical work to be completed next year.
Linton said the construction would likely require the company to sell bonds, but would remain tax-neutral.
Board chair Vivian Whitaker added that while caution is advised with finances, Cloverdale Schools need to address these issues.
?? Linton and the board also recognized Darin LaCoursiere and Endeavor Communications for providing internet and Wi-Fi to needy students and their families during the closures.
?? The board also approved a request from food service manager Billy Boyette to accept food service offers from the West Indy Co-op.
The board also approved the following staff report:
?? Job: Jim Spencer?? professor of social studies CHS; Linda Collins, Mandy Goss and Gary Frazier?? summer guard cleaning;
?? Hiring: James Wade?? CHS chief daughters? basketball coach; and
?? Volunteer: Elizabeth Spencer and Hannah Rady?? CHS volleyball assistant coaches.
Board member Duane Huge was not present at the meeting.
The next regular Cloverdale School Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 13 at 7:00 p.m.