LUTCHER — Enrollment in St. James Parish’s online Virtual Academy not only has increased rapidly since its July opening, but school officials are fielding phone calls from parents outside the parish who are interested in the program.
Virtual Academy Principal Becky Louque gave an assessment during a presentation to the St. James School Board on Tuesday night.
Serving St. James Parish students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Virtual Academy offers computer-based, nontraditional learning opportunities for children who may not perform well in “brick and mortar” schools, Louque said.
The program also fits the needs of students with medical conditions who cannot attend regular school or those who have behavioral issues or learn at their own pace, St. James Parish Superintendent Alonzo Luce said.
“It can go as fast as they want or as slow as they want,” Louque said.
In July, the Virtual Academy started with just one student, Louque said. As of Tuesday, 34 students ranging from fourth grade through 12th grade have enrolled, she said.
“And word is getting out,” Louque said, adding that she receives phone calls and emails from out-of-parish parents each day.
Virtual Academy students must reside in St. James Parish and simultaneously enroll in the local district school where they are geographically zoned, she said. Students must be willing to work independently and are responsible for completing assignments and tasks online, she said.
Virtual Academy students may play on parish school sports teams or participate in school-run clubs. The students may also come to the school’s support lab in Lutcher during the school week to work alongside other students or receive help, Louque said.
The program has attracted a number of home-schooled children and students who had previously left the parish school district to enroll in private or parochial schools, Luce said.
Other business included:
NEW PRECINCTS: The School Board unanimously approved a resolution to send to the St. James Parish Council that, if adopted, would create three new precincts to meet reapportionment requirements created by the 2010 census.
Two of the precincts would be added to St. James Parish School Board District 3 in Paulina and the other in School Board District 4 in Convent.