The Longview ISD board has approved a remote learning program beginning in January for students who qualify.

John Wink, director of school success for Longview ISD, presented plans for the district’s new Virtual Academy to trustees at their Oct. 11 meeting. He said Longview ISD will utilize the BrightThinker curriculum for math, English language arts, social studies, science and any electives required for high school credit.

The academy will be available for qualifying students in grades three through 12. Applications must be submitted by Nov. 1 at tinyurl.com/lisdacademy .

The Virtual Academy was developed in response to Senate Bill 15, which was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott this summer.

“It allows school districts the ability to create a remote learning option for students to complete their coursework remotely,” Wink said. “It’s the same we had last year for remote learning, but there were a few different things added to the Virtual Academy.”

The Virtual Academy offers asynchronous learning — where students can complete work on their own schedule — with support provided through a synchronous environment, where students and teachers are engaged at the same time.

“We designed the program for students who are currently highly proficient in their coursework and will not fall behind because they don’t have access to a teacher in a face-to-face scenario,” he said.

Admission standards include having all A’s and B’s from the previous year, minimum attendance of 90% from the previous year and meeting the “meets” or “masters” standard on reading and math STAAR on the 2021 administration or the 2021 beginning of the year assessment.

The district only can accept 10% of the student enrollment of any campus into the Virtual Academy. Students are required to participate in 240 minutes of instruction and must be online from 8 a.m. to noon each school day.

“If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent a student from being online and completing work from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., the student must communicate with the teacher to inform them of when they will complete the work during the day,” Wink said.

Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy will be provided a Chromebook and internet connection, according to the district.

The program is designed to be available only for a couple of years to help alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Longview ISD parents are encouraged to provide input to make the program better and more effective, Wink said.

“We value input, questions or any type of dialogue that we have along the way because as we’re building this program, we know there’s things we’ll learn along the way,” he said. “We will use that information to make this program better and more effective.”

For information or questions, email {a}ask@lisd.org{/a} or call (903) 381-2200.

Wink also suggests parents contact students’ campus principal in order to see if the program is a good fit.

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