Aiken Co. School Changes Put More Students Online - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Aiken Co. School Changes Put More Students Online

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Aiken, S.C. - Major changes are on the way for Aiken County schools.  The district has been working on a five year strategic plan, which is expected to affect North Augusta High School, Levealle-McCampbell Middle School in Graniteville and Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary, Middle and High Schools.  But there was one program aimed at helping students take that walk across the stage at the end of each year. 

It's called the Aiken County Virtual Academy and it's just one of the changes presented by school staff in the five year strategic plan proposal. 

“To deliver quality, flexible online options for the diverse educational needs of students and their families as a strategy for increasing the graduation rate,” said Terry Hallman, Virtual Learning Coordinator.

Pretty soon students in Aiken could be plugging in and powering up for English, Mathematics and History lessons after normal school hours.  Virtual learning coordinators told the board of education the part-time program would start next school year and eventually become full time. 

“The academy is not designed to award diplomas.  The students would still be students at their schools.  This would just be a service to their schools,” said Fran Alteringer, Virtual Learning Coordinator.

Alteringer said the program is split into about two dozen sections.  The goal is to have about 25 teachers offer classes to between 400 and 600 students for one hundred dollars a class.  Board Member Wesley Hightower approved of the program that is designed to help honor students work ahead, students who have been kicked out of school and all of those in between.

Hightower said, “We might have students within the Aiken County School District right now that really isn’t in a position to go to the traditional school.  An example is a student who had a family member who really needed full time care.  So, the student was able to stay home with the family member and it really worked.”

Teachers would receive a stipend of 75 thousand dollars, which is the sum of three thousand dollars a section.  The total cost of Virtual Academy is 104 thousand dollars. 

Parents can learn more about the program and other parts of the five year plan at March 11 meeting at 6:00 p.m. at the district office. 

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