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Back You are here: Home Features Events and Features Life on the Island NHCS' ONLINE LEARNING PROGRAM CONTINUES TO GROW AND EXCEL


New Hanover County Schools (NHCS) is committed to ensuring that students have access to high quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for success. Over the past seven years, the district has worked to develop what is now one of North Carolina's top programs for online learning.  Since the program began in 2007, it has grown to include middle school and opportunities for accelerated graduation. A recent interview with Online Learning Supervisor Wendy Kraft highlights the latest news about the NHCS' Virtual Academy. To watch the full Diversity Matters interview online, visit the NHCS-TV's Video Library Page on the NHCS website. To learn more about the online learning program, visit learning. Interview with Wendy Kraft:
1. What are some of the newest things happening with the Virtual Academy?
The Virtual Academy is a model of strategic support for students participating in online courses.  Based on the success of our Virtual Academy model at the high schools this year, NHCS will expand this support model to include middle schools for 2014-15.
2. Where is NHCS in comparison with other districts across the state in regards to online learning?
NHCS is the 3rd largest user of NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS) courses in the state, with approximately 2500 courses accessed by our middle and high school students in 2013-14.  Approximately 86% of NHCS students passed their online courses during the fall semester, with nearly 70% earning a ”B” or higher.
 3. Explain the new state Board requirement about 6th graders.
The NC State Board of Education has passed a Board requirement that beginning with the graduating class of 2020 (current 6th graders), all students must pass an online course to graduate from a NC public school.
 4. What percentage of our students are enrolled in online learning and how does that compare to when the program was first implemented?
In 2007, NHCS had approximately 30 students enrolled in NCVPS courses.  This year, the district is supporting approximately 2,500 middle and high school students in online courses.
 5. Do you have to be enrolled in NHCS to take the virtual classes? Are there any other qualifications?
Yes, students must be fully enrolled in NHCS to access NCVPS courses through our district.  Currently, NCVPS provides high school content courses, with the exception of one middle school content course.
6. How much does it cost a NHCS student to take the online classes?
There are no fees for students or families associated with participating in an NCVPS course.  NHCS funds all NCVPS courses accessed by NHCS students.
7. Do current middle school online course count as high school credits?
Middle school students earn credit towards high school graduation for high school content courses taken via NCVPS.  However, middle school students do not begin contributing towards their high school GPA until they begin high school.  Please note that rising 9th graders (students who have completed the 8thgrade) may access NCVPS courses during summer school and earn both credit towards high school graduation and begin contributing towards their high school GPA.
8. What about the Graduation Project? Can that be done online?
The English IV course offered through NCVPS does not include a Graduation Project component, since the Graduation Project is a local Board requirement.  NHCS is working to create an online Graduation Project module that students may take while enrolled in the NCVPS English IV course.   This will allow them to earn the English IV credit online while also satisfying the local Board requirement in a virtual format.
 9.  What about foreign language classes? Is this a way for students in the Immersion Program to go further with the language study?  
NCVPS offers the following World Language courses:  Spanish, French, Latin, Arabic, Russian, German, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.  Students may continue to build upon their foundations acquired in the Immersion Programs by enrolling in these courses as early as middle school.
 10. What is the future of online learning?
This is difficult to predict because of how quickly new opportunities are being made available to our schools and students.  In the near future, NHCS will be using NCVPS to provide summer school courses beginning June 16 and ending August 8.  Courses are available for credit recovery as well as acceleration.  Students should visit their E-Learning Advisor or counselor for more information.