HUNTINGTON — A new option for virtual learning in a home environment is now being offered to Cabell County students for the 2021-22 school year.
Enrollment is open for the Cabell Virtual Learning Academy, an online, off-campus addition to curriculum in Cabell County schools. Through this program, district officials say students will be given structured, organized lessons from live instructors from within the comfort of their own homes.
Though it mirrors classrooms similar to those found during 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy has been a project a couple of years in the making, with initial brainstorming and testing having begun with trial flights back during early 2019.
For Cabell County Schools, inspiration for the program came from attempting to acknowledge the habits and circumstances of an increasingly technologically inclined student body.
“Cabell County Schools has always had a tradition of being forward thinking,” said Ryan Saxe, Cabell County superintendent. “We always try to provide more flexible options for families that are hopefully the best fit for them and their children.”
The program has two sections, one oriented toward children in kindergarten through middle school, and one focused on students in high school. The sections are largely the same, with the primary difference being that K-8 students will receive instruction from teachers in Cabell County, while high school students will receive instruction through the West Virginia Virtual School platform.
K-8 students will also receive instruction from the West Virginia Virtual School platform for non-core subjects such as art classes.
Saxe said that the program has shown to be particularly beneficial for children who require more structure and organization in their academic life to thrive. This is particularly true of K-8 students, who will be receiving direct instruction from Cabell County teachers.
“It was important for us to make sure all K-8 students had someone here in Cabell County,” said Saxe. “We didn’t want them to have someone all the way up north or completely out of the state.”
All students involved in the program will have access to a school counselor and will be given an Apple device to participate. The students will follow the Cabell County academic calendar and will receive report cards as they would while taking in-person classes.
Participants in the program are allowed to attend after-school activities, such as sports and other programs.
Seniors who graduate while taking the program will be able to graduate alongside the rest of their class. A full-time option to study from home while earning a high school diploma is currently being offered by Cabell Midland High School and Huntington High School.
Individuals who have been traditionally homeschooled will be able to take Academy courses through a part-time program, or they can completely transition to the Academy by enrolling in Cabell County schools. Individuals already enrolled for in-person classes can transition to the Academy as well.
Saxe expressed hope that the program would see a rise in home-school students formally enlisting into Cabell County schools.
Those interested in enrolling for the Academy can find the sign-up process under the “Families” section of cabellschools.com.