St. Mary Parish Virtual Learning Program
The St. Mary Parish Virtual Learning Program was established to meet the needs of three kinds of students:
- Full-time students (Grades 6 - 12) enrolled in district schools who choose to complete coursework from locations of their choice.
- Part-time students (Grades 8 - 12) enrolled in district schools who schedule one or more online courses to supplement their traditional face-to-face courses.
- Part-time students (Grades 9 - 12) enrolled in private/parochial schools or home schooling programs who choose to schedule one or more fee-based online courses to supplement their existing programs.
Application to the program is required, and acceptance is not guaranteed.
Courses in the Virtual Learning Program are delivered asynchronously, which means students and instructors are not always online at the same time. Students can access course materials and submit assignments at any time of the day or night and from most devices with Internet access. VLP staff and instructors are knowledgeable state-certified local educators who have received specialized training to prepare them for teaching online. They provide support and feedback to students during their office hours (usually after 3:00 PM) through the learning management system or using email, telephone, or live audio/video conferencing.
Students who do well in online courses usually have the following characteristics:
- They are self-motivated, curious, active learners who will dedicate at least 5 hours/week to working in each scheduled course.
- They possess reading skills that place them near grade-level expectations.
- They can understand and follow written instructions.
- They possess basic technology skills, including
- familiarity with sending/receiving email,
- using Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox,
- downloading and saving files,
- keyboarding skills,
- using word processing applications such as Microsoft Word.
- They have access to an adult with some computer knowledge who can help troubleshoot technical issues.
- They are closely monitored by an adult during their working hours.
Enrollment for Full-time Students:
- Potential full-time students not already enrolled in St. Mary Parish Schools will apply for admittance at the school within the student's residency area, and application requirements include proof of residency, birth certificate, current immunization records, and Social Security card. Students entering the VLP from homeschooling must take the appropriate placement test(s) to facilitate correct course enrollment.
- Potential full-time students already enrolled in a district school will apply for admittance with the school counselor at the school within the student's residency area (attendance zone).
- Requirements for full-time enrollment include the following:
- High-speed Internet access, the cost of which is the sole responsibility of the parent/guardian, must be available before enrollment.
- A laptop or desktop PC (preferably Windows 7 or higher) will be used to access coursework. Students can be issued a district-owned desktop computer/monitor/keyboard system if needed
- Application must include the name of a parent or adult guardian who will serve as the home facilitator and who will be responsible for monitoring student activity, communicating with VLP instructors and staff, and ensuring that coursework is completed in a timely fashion.
- Home facilitator must verify the use of an email address that is checked very frequently to ensure continued communication in support of the student.
- Acceptance into the Virtual Learning Program will be determined by the School Building Level Committee.
- A full-time Virtual Learning Program student is a member of the school at which he/she is enrolled and may participate in athletics, clubs, dances, and school functions including graduation as long as he or she abides by parish and/or school rules.
- A full-time Virtual Learning Program student is expected to attend state- or locally-mandated testing (EOC, ACT, etc.) at his/her school of enrollment in full school uniform on the date scheduled by the school counselor.
- Student who qualify for gifted and talented, 504, and/or other special education services may receive these services on site at his or her attendance zone school.
Enrollment for Part-time Students:
- Students wishing to enroll as part-time students (one or more online courses) in addition to traditional courses will apply for admittance through their school counselors. The school will appoint a site-based facilitator who will be responsible for monitoring student activity, communicating with VLP instructors and staff, and ensuring that coursework is completed in a timely fashion.
- Acceptance into the Virtual Learning Program will be determined by the school administrator.
- Part-time students who fail to meet the requirements of an online course for 20 days, especially in the case of willful negligence, may be removed from the course and an F for the VLP course will appear on his or her transcript. A reimbursement cost of up to $400 may be charged to the student's parent or adult guardian.
- Students must login and complete enough work to remain on schedule in every course.
- Students must respond in a timely manner to email messages sent by VLP instructors and staff.
- Students must make every effort to earn a 70% (D) score on all assignments submitted.
- Students must report problems accessing course content or submitting assignments/assessments to school/home facilitators immediately so that these issues can be addressed.
(Protocol information summarized from the 2016-17 St. Mary Parish Pupil Progression Plan)
Summer Learning Institute
The St. Mary Parish Virtual Learning Program has released information about its Summer Learning Institute that allows high school students to take advantage of the summer break by enrolling in new courses or retaking courses for high school credit.
Courses offered during the Summer Learning Institute’s 6-week summer session are the same high-quality, instructor-supported courses offered by the Virtual Learning Program during the school year. For the summer session, each course has been condensed to 30 instructional days for 1 credit courses and 15 instructional days for ½ credit courses. Both core courses and electives courses are available. Successful students will find themselves working 10 to 20 hours each week, depending on the intensity of the course selected. Naturally, a core course will require more concentrated effort than most elective courses.
Students can work from home on their own computers or use portable devices to work from other locations like a hotel room or a relative’s house. The flexible nature of online courses means that students can still participate in normal summer activities as long as time is also allocated to keep up with the weekly course schedule. A parent or guardian will serve as the student's home facilitator and is required to provide computer and Internet access, as well as encouragement and support in a safe learning environment.
While traditional summer school is usually restricted to students with remediation needs, the SMPVLP Summer Learning Institute encourages students to consider enrolling in a course if
- The course is not offered at their assigned school.
- Their schedules are too full to add fun or unusual electives.
- They have failed a course and wish to retake it to avoid falling behind.
- Schedule conflicts are preventing students from taking a required course.
Enrollment in the Summer Learning Institute is open to high school students attending public, private, or charter schools. For students in all St. Mary Parish schools, applications can be obtained from a student's school counselor and will be accepted from May 22 through June 7, 2017. A personal check or money order made out to the St. Mary Parish School Board must accompany each application. All applications must be approved by the school principal and school counselor.
All courses begin on Monday, June 5, 2017.
All important SLI dates have been placed on the VLP Calendar.
The following informational handouts include course listings, important dates, and costs: