Friday is the deadline to enroll your child in Lee Virtual School, open to all grades. What are the pros and cons unique to this program, and what’s the draw for hundreds of Lee County students and parents?
District leaders tell WINK News that more than 850 students are already enrolled in Lee Virtual School. That is fewer than last school year, but the School District of Lee County received more than 100 applications right after their announcement on Wednesday, so enrollment numbers are expected to go up further.
LCSD says it’s a learning model that works best for students who are highly motivated and ready for a rigorous course schedule, as well as students who need a flexible schedule, such as athletes, performers and students with medical concerns. At the start of the 2020 school year, more than 5,000 students in Lee County were enrolled in the virtual model, which leaders attributed to concerns about COVID-19.
“As of right now, Lee Virtual School has 866 students enrolled, that’s our K-12 program,” said Rob Spicker, spokesman for Lee County Schools. “So, they’re spread across all those grades. It’s down from last year, and certainly the COVID year… it follows the curriculum set by Florida Virtual School, so it does not offer the advanced core programs like IB, Cambridge, or AP, so you don’t have any classes in those subjects.”
There are several pros and cons to both the virtual and in-person learning model. But one of the major pros for Lee Virtual School students is that they’re guaranteed to have a certified teacher because the online model allows teachers to have more students, so the current teacher shortage doesn’t impact them. Parents of younger children, like those in grades K-3, should be prepared to be heavily involved. And there are also drawbacks to the virtual model
“It does not offer the advanced core programs like IB, Cambridge, or AP, so, you don’t have any classes in those subjects; but, again, it’s rigorous, so you’re taking advanced coursework,” Spicker said. “Because it’s the virtual school, it does not qualify for the free lunch program, so that means there are no meals provided. And the mandated state testing takes place in person.”
High school seniors cannot switch to this learning model. If you have any questions or issues enrolling, you can send an email to email@example.com.