Today, I made a visit to New Hampshire’s Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (NH VLACS) in Exeter, New Hampshire.
As Richard Ayers from SERESC notes, “VLACS has thoroughly developed a profile for competency education that is far reaching and relevant to 21st Century Learning.”
Students can take all of their courses online at VLACS. They can enroll so they learn online for just one or a few courses at VLACS, take additional courses for acceleration, take courses that aren’t offered at their traditional schools, or recover units for credit through online learning to catch up and stay on track. There are more than 15,000 enrollments in courses with 100 of their own full-time students, thousands of part-time students, and even students over age 18 trying to re-engage in public education.
I was able to spend several hours talking to students, teachers, staff, and even a few of the board members. The teachers remarked that they “purposefully came to VLACS” to do what they enjoy doing best– focus on teaching and instruction, working with students in a student-centered, competency-based learning environment. VLACS has 126 instructors and 150 staff. All instructional staff are certified teachers, teaching online with the technology tools that enable high quality, personalized instruction that is designed to be competency-based.
Here are a few highlights of my visit:
Statewide Partnership: VLACS’ main focus is to partner with public schools around New Hampshire to create more opportunities for students, and they said that every high school in the state has engaged with VLACS. Their mission is to provide high quality educational opportunities to ensure students are prepared for college, careers, and citizenship.