Virtual course proposed for Wilton High School
As part of the district’s initiative to personalize learning and utilize blended learning platforms to create virtual learning experiences for its students, Wilton High School Associate Principal Donald Schels has proposed a new course for next school year called Virtual High School.
The Virtual High School is a nonprofit entity that provides rigorous online instruction delivered by certified teachers that allows students to engage with coursework at times most convenient to them.
One current Wilton High School teacher would instruct a Virtual High School course part-time, according to the course proposal presented at the Board of Education’s March 23 meeting. In return, the high school would get 50 seats in the Virtual High School at a discounted rate, allowing up to 50 students to take an online course.
According to Schels’ course proposal, Virtual High School would offer students access to “meaningful online learning opportunities” and allow them to work at their own pace to “meet personalized needs.”
The work would align with the high school’s approved curriculum — as well as the district’s vision of providing 21st Century-learning opportunities and personalized instruction to students — but also allow students to explore coursework on an “anytime, anywhere” online basis.
Virtual High School teachers videotape their instruction, model desired results and facilitate students’ performance via blogging, podcast and electronic submission.
Although students would have to follow online course modules as they unfold each week, according to the proposal, they would have the opportunity to do the coursework whenever it’s most convenient to them.
According to the proposal, the initial goal would be to connect students with courses not currently offered at the high school or “redirect students previously referred to other online platforms for enrichment or credit recovery” to the Virtual High School.
As far as impact, the course proposal states, Virtual High School courses “may provide enrichment opportunities for certain middle school students,” and “initial impact” on other Wilton High School courses and programs “should be modest.”
To supply a teacher to the Virtual High School, 0.2 FTE (full-time equivalent) staff would be needed. The proposal also notes that Wilton High School FTE could be impacted if 50 students select a Virtual High School course in place of traditional high school courses.
Wilton High School’s Virtual High School teacher would need to complete 60 hours of training over the summer. She or he would be paid at the district’s per diem summer professional learning rate of $28.53 an hour, which would cost the district $1,712.
At a discounted rate of $150 per seat in the Virtual High School, having 50 students participate in the program would cost the district $7,500.
Overall, the total fixed cost for one year of Virtual High School would cost the district around $9,212.
To learn more about the Virtual High School, visit thevhscollaborative.org .