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Revised SCoVE program offered to students seeking remote learning for next school year

In order to give students more learning options, Stanly County Schools has revamped its virtual schooling program, known as SCoVE (Stanly County Virtual Education), for the upcoming school year.

The program was originally created two years ago to support the county’s rising homeschool population. SCoVE supplemented what homeschools were teaching by allowing students to take SCS classes (virtual, in-person or a mixture of both) that interested them. With more students taking classes at the brick-and-mortar middle and high schools, the average daily attendance increased, thus providing more funding for the school system.

Unfortunately, the program has never gained much traction, with no more than 50 students enrolled at one time, said Dr. Amy Blake-Lewis, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

With SCoVE already being an established entity (it’s viewed as another school in the county), SCS decided to retrofit the program going forward to make it the long-term virtual option for students. Any students in the county, whether they are homeschooled and already in the program or enrolled with the school system, can be part of the revamped SCoVE program.

“There’s always going to be now a population of parents who will probably expect a virtual option,” Blake-Lewis said, adding that creating one virtual school is an easier task than offering virtual options at every school across the district. “If we can bring that into one site and manage our virtual services through one site, I think it will increase the quality of instruction and alleviate a lot of the stress on our traditional brick-and-mortar schools.”

The Stanly County Board of Education is fully aware of the revised program, as it was discussed in detail during the board’s retreat a few weeks ago.

Beginning March 8, students and their families can apply to be part of the updated SCoVE program, which will begin in August. The application process will include a narrative component where students will have to explain why SCoVE is the best educational option for them and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, assessing the students’ abilities, especially when it comes to online learning. Students and their families will have one month to apply for the program.

SCoVE will function as an online K-12 school, but enrollment will be capped for each grade level, for a total of roughly 470 students. During the 2021-2022 school year, there will be:

  • One class of 20 students per K-5 grade level for a total of 120 students;
  • Two classes of 25 students per 6-8 grade level for a total of 150 students;
  • Two classes of 25 students per 9-12 grade level for a total of 200 students.

SCoVE will not function as a dual enrollment program. Students wanting to enroll in the virtual education will not be allowed to take classes from any other school.

While an outside vendor called Edgenuity provided much of the online instruction and teachers for the program, Blake-Lewis said that with the revised SCoVE, “this will all be taught by Stanly County Schools teaching staff.”

The project number of teachers needed in K-12 is 20 and they will be strictly remote teachers, Blake-Lewis said, so they won’t have to worry about in-person teaching. The application process is open for any educators who want to teach remotely next year as part of the program.

Blake-Lewis said the school system is also still looking for a principal for the virtual school, as previous SCoVE director Nancy Hatley is now SCS’s new director of federal programs and grants.

“We’re wanting to start in a manageable way and make sure we do it right and that our services are offered at that high level of quality that I expect and that our parents have come to expect from Stanly County Schools,” Blake-Lewis said.

Students enrolled in SCoVE will receive the same high-quality education as their in-person peers, she said.

“At the end of the day, they’re going to be receiving a Stanly County Schools diploma… and our name is on that and we want to make sure the quality is there,” Blake-Lewis said.

Families can access the application on the school system’s website. It will also be posted on SCS’s Facebook page.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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