Virtual on-line classes so popular they’re filled up

Published 2:34 pm Thursday, September 2, 2010

A state education official who helps co-ordinate a virtual on-line school says the program is so popular and in so much demand that all slots are now filled and no more applications are being accepted for now.

However, Tina Sellers, special projects officer with what is called the Mississippi Virtual Public School, said that as soon as the program is ready to begin accepting more applicants, school districts throughout the state will be notified.

In addition, Sellers said that some parents are under the impression that their child can graduate from high school through the program, but that is not the case. However, some of the courses offered in the program might help the student graduate she said.

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She said that most courses offered on-line are advanced courses for advanced students, and only a few of the courses are ones that can be used toward credit for graduation.

Recently, a parent appeared before the Picayune school board seeking information on the program, because her child was participating in a nationally competitive sports program that caused him to miss a lot of school.

The state Department of Education was administering the MVPS program but recently contracted it out to Connections Academy of Maryland. The new company uses certified teachers within Mississippi to teach the courses on-line, just as the state had done.

Students wanting to participate in the on-line courses must go through counselors, or a site coordinator, at the local school district to make application.

The on-line, or virtual, school year for 2010-2011 has already begun, just as have most bricks-and-nortar schools.

Registration was from Aug. 9 to Sept. 10, but was cut short because of the high demand and the fact that all slots were immediately filled. There is a waiting list, and if the application process is opened again, that list will be used first, said Sellers, to fill slots.

Following is a list of courses offered in MVPS program:

Language Arts: English III, English IV and Introduction to Journalism.

Math: Pre-Algebra, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry and Pre-calculus.

Science: Earth Science, Physical Science, Environmental Science, Chemistry and Physics.

Social Studies: Intro to World Geography, Global Studies, American Government, World History and Economics.

Business and Technology: Advance software topics, Keyboarding, Programming I, Programming-Advanced and Web Page Design.

Advanced Placement: Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science A, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, AP Physics B, AP Government and Politics-US, AP US History and AP World History.

World languages: French I, French II, German I, German II, Latin I, Latin II, Spanish I and Spanish II.

Health Safety and Physical Education: Comprehensive Health and Physical Education.