COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 2021-2022 online learning programs of four Pee Dee school districts have been approved by the South Carolina Board of Education.
The board voted on Monday to approve 33 school district virtual learning programs for the next school year, including the programs of Darlington County, Florence Three (Lake City), Marion County and Williamsburg County.
“While all South Carolina schools are rightly prioritizing full, in-person instruction this upcoming school year, we know families in some communities were able to successfully navigate virtual learning and would like the option to continue,” State Board of Education Chair Kristi Woodall said. “The districts whose programs were approved have demonstrated that they are able to meet the high expectations that we have set for virtual instruction and student participation.”
Darlington’s virtual program is open to students in 5K through 12th grade. Each student will receive live daily instruction from a teacher, all items needed will be provided by the district and students who don’t make progress will be removed from the program.
Florence Three’s virtual program is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students in grades K-6 will receive daily instruction. Seventh through 12th grade students will participate in the Apex program.
Marion’s virtual program is open to students in second through 12th grades. Students in grades two through eight receive daily virtual instruction and students in high school will use Edgenunity and Virtual SC courses.
Williamsburg’s virtual program is a hybrid program. It calls for online learning Monday through Thursday and in person work on Fridays.
The 33 approved programs met enrollment criteria established by the South Carolina General Assembly and guidelines established by the State Board of Education that were derived from similar regulations pertaining to virtual charter schools.
The criteria includes that at least 25% of the instruction must be done with a live teacher, each class must be taught by a person with a valid teaching certificate, each student’s program must be monitored for participation, each class should have tests administered by a teacher and for the teacher to provide updates to parents twice per month.
The General Assembly included a budget proviso that limited online enrollment to 5% of a district’s total student population.
Parents looking for virtual options in districts with and without their own virtual programs can enroll free of charge in VirtualSC, a free state-sponsored online program serving students currently attending public, private and home schools in grades 7-12 and Adult Education Programs.
VirtualSC offers a wide variety of online course offerings including the full suite of Advanced Placement courses. Registration opens on August 18 for middle and high school year long courses.
South Carolina is also home to seven free online virtual charter schools that are available to students and their families statewide: Odyssey Online Learning, South Carolina Connections Academy, Lowcountry Connections Academy, Cyber Academy of South Carolina, The SC Preparatory Academy, South Carolina Public Charter School and the Whitmore School.