School board approves academy of virtual education
At its monthly learning session Monday night, the St. Croix Central School Board approved the establishment of a full-time virtual charter school beginning with the start of the 2014-15 school year.
High school principal Glenn Webb reviewed several changes to the contract between the school district and the new St. Croix Valley Academy of Virtual Education. Due to the highly individualized nature of virtual learning, for a virtual student to earn a diploma from the academy will require 20 credits compared to 24 for a traditional student at St. Croix Central High School.
The other notable change to the contract was the exclusion of section 8.1, the Code of Ethics, upon the recommendation of attorney Barry Forbes. Forbes felt it was understood that district board members and members of the new charter school’s governing council are public officials as defined by state statute and as such are automatically subject to the Code of Ethics for Local Government Officials.
Webb explained that the contract was created to meet the comprehensive benchmarks established by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for charter schools applying for grant funding even though the new charter school will not be applying for grants.
“It is likely we will cap enrollment the first year to be able to better control costs,” Webb said.
He added the plan is for the new school to continue using the current curriculum, which the district purchases and is designed specifically for virtual learning, in the hope that with more experience, faculty will eventually be able to develop their own curriculum. The district has not yet determined whether virtual students will qualify to participate in extracurricular activities.
Another positive, make-up days due to inclement weather shouldn’t be an issue for virtual students.