BCPS opens Burke County Virtual Academy

Burke County Public Schools opens Burke County Virtual Academy
Posted on 07/07/2020

Morganton, NC – Tuesday, July 7, 2020


Burke County Public Schools will open Burke County Virtual Academy in the fall for students and parents seeking a longer-term, flexible remote learning option. The academy will be open to any K-12 student whether currently enrolled with Burke County Public Schools or in a homeschool, private school or charter school anywhere in the state.


Dr. Christie Abernathy, director of Advance Learning, explained that this tuition-free option offers personalized education to students who want more flexibility in their school day or a blended model partnership between the home and public school. Abernathy said, “The Burke County Virtual Academy is optimal for students who learn best working independently in an online environment. While a traditional school has a more formal structure and schedule, our virtual academy allows students and parents to organize their daily school work routine. The flexible schedule alleviates conflicts between school and other commitments students may have. The Burke County Virtual Academy also offers a personalized learning program that is tailored to a student’s needs, and provides parents the opportunity to guide and facilitate their child’s education in the home environment.”

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said talented, local teachers who are licensed and highly qualified will design the Burke County Virtual Academy courses and provide students engaging and interactive instruction. 

Putnam explained how the Burke County Virtual Academy came about and why it would be appealing to homeschoolers. He said, “This virtual academy has been in the works for a while now - even before COVID-19 hit. We saw this as a great opportunity to accelerate its opening and provide families interested in a true virtual academy the option to take advantage of it now. Maybe families have been homeschooling and are looking for something different, something more. The Burke County Virtual Academy is ideal for students in a homeschool setting because they receive additional academic support while maintaining a flexible schedule and personalized learning. Since our academy does not charge tuition, enrolling will eliminate the cost associated with purchasing online content for your children. As for our students already enrolled in Burke County Public Schools, we understand there are uncertainties with how the regular school year will open in August -- face-to-face versus remote or a combination -- but this Burke County Virtual Academy is separate and will not be affected by mandated school openings and closings based on the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Abernathy said the ideal student for Burke Virtual Academy is one who demonstrates that he or she has the ability to be successful in a virtual learning environment. Students will need access to a computer and reliable, high-speed internet. She said several examples of students who may be interested in the Burke County Virtual Academy include high school students who are dual enrolled in college courses and want flexibility to fully develop a schedule conducive to taking college courses, completing required high school courses and/or working jobs simultaneously. Or students who may be pursuing other interests in areas such as elite athletics, equestrian and similar competitions, or the fine arts.

All Burke County Virtual Academy classes are aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, and include all core content areas: English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Some elective classes will be offered as well. The Burke County Virtual Academy follows the Burke County Schools academic calendar. While students have flexibility about where and when to complete assignments, they are expected to login and work every school day, and to follow course deadlines established by their teacher. Burke County Virtual Academy students are required to take all end-of-course exams face-to-face at a central location with other virtual students. 

For those interested in the Burke County Virtual Academy, there is at least a semester-long commitment. Abernathy said, “Students who start school in August enrolled in the Burke County Virtual Academy are expected to maintain enrollment until the end of the semester in December. Similarly, if you begin the spring semester in January, you are expected to maintain enrollment until the end of the spring semester in May.” 

  

Abernathy asks those who are interested in the Burke County Virtual Academy to complete this survey. For more information, email Abernathy at cabernathy@burke.k12.nc.us.


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