Florence middle school students goes virtual in the fall

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – With the Alabama Senate passing a virtual school bill for all school systems, online courses for students across the state may soon be a reality.

One Shoals school system is in their second year of offering virtual high school courses, and they plan to expand it to lower grades in the fall.

With technology already in the hands of the student, traditional classrooms in the Florence City Schools are shrinking.

In 2013, the school system piloted a virtual high school program.

“Learning for us as adults was everyone goes and they sit in the same class every day for the same number of minutes, that’s not what defines learning now,” stated Superintendent Janet Womack.

Womack said they’ve seen great success with the virtual high school for grades 9 through 12. So much in fact, Womack said the school system plans to roll the program out to 7 and 8 grade students in the fall.

“They can take learning and move at their own pace, so they can achieve whatever their individual goals are, not just lock-step moving with every student in their grade level,” explained Womack.

Womack said the middle school students will be able to take all of their core classes online, in turn, freeing them up to take other enrichment courses the system offers through-out the day.

“Students could still be a part of Florence City Schools but not necessarily live in Florence all through-out the year or anytime through-out the year,” Womack said.

In a mobile world, Womack said school systems must change to fit everyone’s individual needs. Students must maintain a B-average to participate in virtual school offerings.

Superintendent Womack hopes the online options will also attract students who are already home schooled, but want to participate in extracurricular activities the school system offers.