Dorchester District Two modifies Virtual Academy program for next school year

VIDEO: Dorchester District Two modifies Virtual Academy program for next school year

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Parents and guardians in Dorchester District Two have until March 25 to decide if they’d like their children to enroll in a full-time virtual learning program or attend school in-person next year.

The DD2 Virtual Academy will have new enrollment criteria and the district is reducing the number of grades levels that are part of the program. There will also be limited course offerings.

DD2 Virtual Academy Director Dr. Greg Harrison says they are planning to offer online courses for grades 4 through 12. Fourth and fifth grade courses will be available based on demand.

For this current school year, grades 5K through 12 could previously enroll.

Harrison says they sent surveys to parents in December to gauge their interest in virtual learning.

“Based on the surveys as well as what we’re hearing from others around the state, we expected it to be significantly lower,” Harrison said.

Students who enroll in the virtual academy next school year must commit to an entire school year of full-time virtual learning because the district is hiring teachers for a district-based virtual academy versus a school-based model.

Harrison says in the school-based model students were taught by teachers mostly at their school. In contrast, in a district model teachers will be hired as Virtual Academy teachers and they’ll teach students across the district so they may not be from a child’s school. They’ll also be hired to focus solely on virtual learning.

The district’s Virtual Academy Handbook outlines the criteria for virtual students. Harrison says they will be taking into consideration performance and attendance from this current school year on who they accept.

“In eLearning, were they successful this year if they were in the virtual academy, if they were then they’re probably a good candidate to continue on,” Harrison said. “If a student wasn’t successful, then we see it’s our responsibility to not let that student continue to be unsuccessful in an environment.”

The district is also in partnership with the Lowcountry Education Consortium. Harrison is the chair of the online learners group committee. The Consortium is looking into creating a K-8 virtual program for the area for parents who want a virtual option for younger students.

For more information about the Dorchester District Two Virtual Academy visit the website here.

If you have any questions about enrollment or other virtual options for students who are not eligible to enroll in the district’s virtual courses, you can email DDTwoVA@dorchester2.k12.sc.us.

District officials say students will be notified by April 12 if they are accepted.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.