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Hancock Schools review virtual program

NEW CUMBERLAND — With the return to five-days-a-week, in-person instruction looming in West Virginia, Hancock County Schools officials touched on the results of one of their educational offerings in recent months.

As part of discussion during Monday’s Hancock County Board of Education meeting, officials reviewed the use of the West Virginia Virtual School program, which had been available for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Participating in the program during the fall semester came at a cost of $177,000, with 305 Hancock County students enrolled, according to Superintendent Dawn Petrovich.

Petrovich explained the program allowed for 10 free student enrollments, with a cost of $600 for every other student.

“We had quite a few students,” she said, noting some participated throughout the entire semester, while others returned to the county’s education system after only a few weeks.

Board members noted there had been reports of a high number of students enrolled in the virtual program receiving failing grades.

Petrovich explained the county school system had little involvement in the program, but was required by the state to make it available.

“We, as a school system, had to provide an option,” Petrovich said, noting once a student was signed up for the virtual school program, it was up to the student, their parents and the assigned teacher to make sure assignments were completed.

The county system did receive updates on grades, and Petrovich said those students failing courses were encouraged to return to regular schooling.

“We didn’t allow anyone to stay on that wasn’t successful,” she said.

The virtual program has continued for the current semester, but only for those students receiving a 2.0 grade point average, or higher, in all core and required courses during the first semester.

Petrovich said more discussion will be needed before deciding whether to use the program if it is needed in the future. High school students in the county are enrolled through the EdOptions program.

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