Hampton, Virginia (WAVY) – The pandemic has forced schools across the country to stretch their educational muscles in very different ways. Hampton schools have decided to take this to another level by creating what is called the virtual learning revolution.
“It’s called Future learning experience or FLEX program“Said Dr. Kate Maxlow, director of innovation and vocational training at Hampton City schools.
She says school principals are thrilled with their new, free virtual learning for K-5 students.
“We really wanted to be able to write our own program and make our students experience virtual learning in a new way, which we knew could bring learning to life in a way it hadn’t before.”
Dr Maxlow says she cannot wait until students are introduced to some new aspects of virtual learning through FLEx.
“We’re going to have things like quests, puzzles and role-playing games, just make it as exciting as possible with these adventure stories that kids will experience from week to week and that will tie together everything they learn language art, math, science and social studies, ”said Dr. Maxlow.
While you can choose to teach your child mostly in the morning or afternoon, Dr. Maxlow emphasizes that parents or guardians will be very involved.
“This is one of the reasons why we created this program for families who want to be more involved in their children’s education, who want to be able to choose certain activities, who want to be able to say, ‘You know what?’ We will take drawing lessons at 1pm every day, ”and that is perfectly acceptable accordingly.”
“You’re online mostly either in the morning or mostly in the afternoon. These are a lot of small groups. In general, very little group things happen so that teachers have more such instructions. In kindergarten and first grade, students are only online for about 110 minutes a day, but twice a week they spend a one-on-one lesson, a 15-minute lesson with the teacher, and this is so that the teacher can really work closely with the student , and with families to see how your student does what else you need, what works for you, and what doesn’t. Then we also offer a treasure trove of virtual asynchronous actions, virtual and practical. Most of them are based on games. For example, we do not want children to just follow letters all the time or just online all the time. So we have games that you can play at your kitchen table. Games that you can play in your car and we send a lot of these materials. They have experiments that you can do at home with lots of different projects, and families can choose from these things, not we say you have to do X. We have a bunch of different things by the same standards. and they can choose what they want to do. No one is online for more than three hours, and we certainly take breaks. As you get older, I think the longest time is two hours and fifty minutes when anyone is online with breaks in between. K and 1 will be slightly shorter. To 2 and 3 we add a little more time, and to 4 and 5 we add this extra time, reaching about three hours, but no more than that ”.
FLEx teachers are teachers at Hampton City Schools.
“We really are currently hiring, and this is one of the interesting things because you don’t need to live in Hampton or even be able to travel to Hampton to apply for this program. All you need is a Virginia teaching license, a stable internet connection and the ability to stay awake during the hours we offer under the program. So we had teachers who applied from different places, ”Dr. Maxlow said.
Hampton Schools have decided that it is best to start FLEx virtual learning with K-5 students rather than with K-12.
“We really want it to be right and we want to ensure maximum quality. The curriculum we create is time consuming. I spent about five hours in the escape room on the weekend and I’m still not quite done with it. We have plans to deploy from 6 to 8 and then, of course, from 9 to 12 in the coming years. “
Dr Maxlow says the goal is to make FLEx a permanent program. However, in the first year the school system limits the number of students in the program to 108.
“Next year we are limiting it to one class per class. Thus, students are 16 K and 1, 18 for 2nd and 3rd grades and 20 for 4th and 5th grades. We really want to be able to provide comprehensive support to our teachers so that we can provide all the professional training they need so that we can help them take lessons and help them acclimatize to this new way of learning. Starting small, we can provide the highest quality program. Then we can build and develop in the years to come. ”
If more students apply than there are vacancies, Dr. Maxlow tells WAVY.com that there will be a lottery system where names will be chosen randomly. No qualifications, such as grades or test results, are required to apply.
“We will offer special education services, gifted services, English language services.”
If your child lives within the Hampton City school, Dr. Maxlow says the school system will provide your child with a Chromebook and he will work to get free or discounted online service through Cox.
What about school hours? Dr Maxlow says FLEx students must go through the same number of hours of study as students at the school.
“It is very important for us to make sure that we adhere to the quality standards of the Virginia Department of Education and the General Assembly. So we have very carefully calculated how many minutes they are online with the number of asynchronous or independent actions they perform, and they have a table that they have to keep each week that states exactly what they did and why they have done so many minutes so that we can ensure that we perform those 330 minutes a day ”.
State testing will also be part of your child’s school year.
“Any proven levels, they’ll still have to take SOL. This is the one time they should come to the Hampton City Schools campus throughout the year. That’s a requirement of the Virginia Department of Education. “
Dr. Maxlow is happy with the answer so far.
“We had a lot of parents who signed up and said that’s exactly what my child needs.”
Dr Maxlow says it’s important to remember, while some students learn best in person and others learn best online.
“It’s not about trying to put all students on one platform. We are talking about having several platforms that meet the needs of all our students. “
Applications for the Hampton FLEX program should be by May.
WAVY.com has reviewed what virtual plans, if any, are available at other local schools for the next school year. Here’s what we learned:
Chesapeake City Schools
City schools of Chesapeake were established Chesapeake Virtual Academy. The CVA is designed for K-12 grade students. According to Richie Beb, head of CPS’s public relations department, all CVA teachers will work in Chesapeake’s public schools.
Suffolk City Schools
For the 2022-2023 school year, Suffolk public schools will be offered SPS online: A completely online, virtual curriculum for K-12 students who prefer to study in a virtual environment. Students who use this option will study through third-party virtual providers, qualified teachers, attend them on a traditional schedule, be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, clubs and organizations, and will continue to be associated with their zoning school according to Antanet Ward. SPS Community Worker.
Applications for participation in the program are accepted NOW – April 22, 2022.
Newport News Public Schools
Newport News Public Schools launched Fr. Virtual Academy of Training (VLA) this school year for high school students. The VLA is expanding next school year to include high school students. NNPS accepts applications from students in grades 6-12 for the 2022-2023 academic year. The deadline for applications is March 16.
Web classes include core subjects such as English, mathematics, science and history, as well as electives, special education services and advanced training (AP) courses. The VLA includes a mix of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (independent) instructions under the guidance of NNPS faculty.
NNPS VLA is a modern approach to distance learning that allows students to participate in extracurricular activities and athletics in their focused school. VLA also has a strong partnership with the community that allows our students to participate in meaningful learning and socially exciting trips and activities.
A family information webinar will be held on Wednesday, March 2, at 6 p.m. Click here to follow the Zoom link.
Portsmouth Public Schools
The school system plans to continue with Virtual Virginia.
Isle of Wight Public Schools
The school system plans to continue with Virtual Virginia.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools
“Virginia Beach City Public Schools are still exploring options for next school year,” said Sondra Woodward, VBCPS Public Relations Coordinator.