FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — After a year of virtual learning in response to the pandemic, Franklin County Schools is planning to offer a Virtual Learning Academy next school year.
Virtual learning has had a different impact on kids across the country, as some struggled and others thrived. For the McRoberts family in Franklin County, 12-year-old Jaiden has enjoyed it.
“It's a lot less stressful than in school,” said Jaiden.
That's why Jaiden is interested in Franklin County Schools' Virtual Learning Academy next school year. Compared to the current virtual learning method, the VLA will be a more self-guided learning environment with instructors dedicated to teaching virtually.
“That was something that we saw as a true need,” said Superintendent Mark Kopp. “It really was difficult on teachers to be able to try to do both things at the same time and this will really allow some of our very excellent teachers to focus on just those virtual students or the in-person students.”
“We realized that traditional instruction isn't always the right fit for every student and so, we wanted to offer this as an option,” said Sharla Six, assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment. “We hope that it could also increase our enrollment. There might be parents who currently choose to homeschool that may now decide to enroll in Franklin County Schools because this virtual option could be a good alternative for them.”
Applications for the VLA are already being reviewed by the district, including Jaiden's. Her mom Shannon says one factor behind their decision to apply is COVID-19 and whether kids Jaiden's age would be vaccinated by the beginning of the school year. However, Shannon also feels her daughter has grown as a student learning virtually and wants to continue with the option.
“I think that she's going to do better in her own environment,” said Shannon. “The dedicated teachers and the structure and everything I think it going to allow her to maybe get ahead academically, even further than she would have in traditional school.”
Dr. Jim Masters, Director of K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, says the district has received 39 applications for the VLA so far from elementary, middle, and high school students. He says staff members are currently contacting families who expressed interest in the VLA but haven’t applied yet. The district is still accepting applications through this week. Then, it will conduct interviews and accept students.