General Information for Parents
Public virtual schools are held accountable in several ways
- They are school choice options for parents and students.
- Virtual School funding is based on successful course completion. If a student does not pass a virtual course or successfully complete the prescribed level of content that counts toward promotion, the student will not generate funding for that course or content.
- The provider, the school district, or FLVS receive school grades based on student performance on state testing. The provider earns a State grade for all of its students statewide and a district grade when in contract with a school district. If the school district operates its own program, it will receive a school grade based on the performance of the students participating in its program.
Full-time district virtual program students will be provided with a testing location from their district. This may be the student’s attendance-zoned school, or another testing location within the district. Part-time students will test at their school of enrollment. Students enrolled in a virtual course from another district will test at their school of enrollment as well.
Students in FLVS full-time will be tested in their districts of residence, at their zoned schools, unless another location has been agreed upon by FLVS, the school, and the student.
Attendance and Participation
Yes, virtual students must meet compulsory attendance requirements. This means virtual school students must regularly log in and complete lessons, assignments and tests to stay on pace. Students have the same guidelines related to truancy as students in brick and mortar schools.
By their nature, online courses do not have to be offered at a specific time of the day. Online teachers primarily interact with and instruct students on an individual basis using different methods of communication. Online teachers may also set up group sessions at specific times to cover selected topics or to provide additional help for students. Virtual courses offered by school districts to students in district school buildings may be provided during a specific time of the school day, although access to curriculum may often take place anytime.
Yes. All teachers, providing instruction for public virtual programs must hold valid Florida teaching certificates in the appropriate areas of instruction, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and Reading certifications/endorsements, if applicable. In addition, employees and contracted personnel must be screened as required by Section 1012.32, F.S., using state and national criminal history records.
Yes. The virtual curriculum and courses are required to meet state standards.
Districts are required to provide the necessary instructional materials for students to participate in this program.
The district must provide each full-time student enrolled in VIP who qualifies for free or reduced priced lunches under the National School Lunch Act, or who is on the direct certification list, and who does not have a computer or Internet access in his or her home with all equipment necessary to participate in the program. This includes, but is not limited to, a computer, a computer monitor, a printer (if necessary for the program) and access to or reimbursement for Internet services.
Florida Virtual School (FLVS) and all school districts offer virtual schools and online courses for Florida students. Districts may also contract with Department of Education (DOE)-approved virtual providers to offer virtual schools or courses. Some districts sponsor virtual charter schools.
In addition to the virtual options offered by the public virtual schools mentioned above, school districts and charter schools may offer online and blended learning opportunities in traditional district schools and brick and mortar charter schools. Blended learning courses include both online and face-to-face instruction.
FLVS provides a full-time virtual school for students in grades K-12 as well as part-time options which allow students to take online courses on an individual basis. FLVS full-time and part-time options are available to students statewide.
Districts also offer full-time virtual schools and part-time options. All school districts offer district virtual instruction programs (VIPs) as a school choice option for their students in grades K-12. Many school districts also operate franchises of FLVS and/or offer individual online courses to students in and out of traditional school settings. A student may enroll in individual online courses offered by their own school district or from any other school district in the state.
Florida’s virtual schools offer many different types of courses, including core courses, electives, credit recovery, Advanced Placement, Career and Technical Education, and more. Full-time virtual schools offer a complete curriculum to enable students to move to the next grade level and to graduate. However, the courses offered at different virtual schools may vary. To find out what specific online courses are offered by FLVS, school districts and approved virtual providers parents can access the Florida Online Course Catalog at: http://web06.fldoe.org/CourseCatalog/
The student must notify his or her school of the intention to enroll in an online course in another school district so that the necessary information can be collected, verified and confirmed by both districts at the point of enrollment. This will help to ensure the correct funding, reporting and accountability for this student. The school cannot deny access to the other district’s course as long as the course is appropriate based on the student’s academic history and academic goals.
According to Section 1011.61(1)(c)2., F.S., a student in membership in a program scheduled for more or less than 180 school days or the equivalent on an hourly basis as specified by rules of the State Board of Education is a fraction of a full-time equivalent membership equal to the number of instructional hours in membership divided by the appropriate number of hours set forth in subparagraph (a)1.; however, for the purposes of this subparagraph, membership in programs scheduled for more than 180 days is limited to students enrolled in:
- Juvenile justice education programs.
- The Florida Virtual School.
- Virtual instruction programs and virtual charter schools for the purpose of course completion and credit recovery pursuant to Sections 1002.45 and 1003.498, F.S. Course completion applies only to a student who is reported during the second or third membership surveys and who does not complete a virtual education course by the end of the regular school year. The course must be completed no later than the deadline for amending the final student enrollment survey for that year. Credit recovery applies only to a student who has unsuccessfully completed a traditional or virtual education course during the regular school year and must retake the course in order to be eligible to graduate with the student’s class.
Yes. As described in Section 1002.20, F.S., K-12 student and parent rights, “parents of public school students may seek whatever public school choice options that are applicable and available to students in their districts.” The options listed include district virtual programs and Florida Virtual School. All education programs, activities, and opportunities offered by public education institutions must be made available without discrimination on the basis of disability.
As with all public educational services, educational services provided to exceptional students in virtual education programs are governed under Section 1003.57, F.S., et seq., and all such services are to be provided in conformity with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Section 1003.57(5), F.S., outlines a full-time virtual program’s obligations to exceptional education students.
Full-time virtual programs have responsibilities related to the identification and location (Child Find), and evaluation of students with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services, including the development and implementation of IEPs. Additionally, they have responsibilities related to the evaluation of students who are gifted and the development and implementation of education plans for students who are gifted.