You’re located in Providence, so do you have to live in Providence to attend the school?
No, the school has a state-wide enrollment policy. Any student entering grades 9 through 12 and who lives in RI is eligible to attend.
How do you get into the school?
First, you have to complete our electronic version of the RIDE application. It’s very easy and automatic. However, like all other RI Charter Schools we will have a lottery if there are more applicants than seats available. The VGV enrollment lotteries are March 1st. CLICK HERE TO APPLY.
Is there tuition to attend?
No, Village Green is a tuition free public school open to any high school student in Rhode Island.
Yes, we meet every indicator of “public-ness.” The school is tuition free, offering a free and reduced breakfast and lunch program, open to everyone by applying to a blind lottery, welcoming of all students, hiring only certified teachers, accountable to the State, assessed by PARCC, receiving Federal Funds, funded by state and local dollars, and responsible to the students, families and taxpayers.
If the school is “virtual” do you still have to attend?
Yes, there is a 180 day school year and a day that is 6.5 hours long. Daily attendance is an expectation. While the “on-line” curriculum makes it possible to do work when you are home sick there is no part of the school’s design which replaces the experience of “going to school” with an experience of learning only on-line or at home. We will follow the traditional school calendar for vacations and follow Providence Schools for snow days and delays.
Are there teachers or do the computers teach the students?
Without teachers there would be no real student achievement or progress. In the on-line curriculum students will be able to follow the lessons and do most of the work. But, what happens when they’re stuck or don’t get something? In order to get them over the hurdle of that chapter or lesson the teacher will “teach” that skill or strategy. Then, the student can return to the on-line curriculum and continue making progress.
How many teachers will there be and will they be certified?
Presently, the 2015/2016 staffing plan calls for 21 certified teachers plus other staff of certified administration and student and school support staff. In 2015/2016, of the 27 VGV employees, 22 hold RI teaching certificates.
I’ve heard the term “Blended Learning” a lot lately, what is it?
Blended learning is a strategy where the student uses the online curriculum for most instruction but still has scheduled time in class with teachers. Then, in class teachers use technology as an instructional tool.
Is this more of a “Blended Learning” model than a “Virtual one?”
Yes, students will have much more contact with certified teachers than at most other virtual schools in the country. The on-line curriculum allows the student to self-pace and self-monitor their progress through the system, however, without the classroom experience, when a student is stuck or just “doesn’t get something”; they need the on-line to blend with the “face to face.”
Certified teachers will be with students no matter what they are working on; teachers will give 1 on 1 help in the Learning Centers, instruct in small group classes and work in the Design Space for team projects, research and presentation development.
If I become a student at Village Green will I be alone a lot and working by myself?
No, you’re never alone. If you are working at your computer work station there are many other students and teachers around. The typical class size is ten when you’re in workshop with a teacher. There will be many opportunities to work in creative teams of students making product designs and team deliverables such as presentations and research.
Creating community is a part of the school’s mission and we will seek as many ways to connect students to the school and its citizens as possible. However, a potential student and family must be aware that the on-line curriculum means a lot of time will be spent working individually. Additionally, every student will be part of an Advisory which will be led by an advisor and further serves to connect the students to each other and make everyone in the school “well known and part of the culture.”
Are there tests and quizzes? How do I know if I’m making progress?
The on-line curriculum not only has lessons and ways to practice new sills but assesses those skills as well. There are tests and quizzes but they are meant to show what still needs to be learned. Tests, quizzes and practice assignments can all be retaken until proficiency is met and the student then automatically moves to the next chapter or unit within a subject.
Will I be “missing out on school” if I attend Village Green?
Village Green Virtual School is a small school and no matter what the type of curriculum or theme, small schools are just that, small schools. No school of our size will have the number of extra-curricular activities that a large comprehensive high school has. That being said, Village Green will have clubs based on student interest, dances and proms, student government, field trips, Town Meetings, internships, community service, workshops at night, Honors Nights and Graduations. School is not “all work and no play” and we know students need a well-rounded and engaging school life in order to be happy and feel fulfilled.
Can I graduate high school in less than four years?
Yes. Because the VGV program of study and the Edgenuity curriculum are both proficiency based it is possible to move through the courses in less time than in a traditional school. However, you would still need to complete all the state graduation requirements, including NECAP and the Writing Portfolio and Capstone project. Plus we would need to put in place a transition plan which includes college or career paths for early graduates.
At Village Green Virtual we work hard to customize a path which is right for each student. It starts with diagnostic testing which determines skill levels and aptitudes. Then, one of our pathways will make the journey to graduation a unique experience for each student. Graduating in three years is a possibility brought to ambitious students because of the flexible power of e-courseware. However, it takes hard work and dedication to achieve this goal.
Also, meeting graduation requirements and actually graduating are two different things. VGV can design a unique 4th year of high school for all students if they need it or want it.
Can I play sports?
Yes, because we are members of the Interscholastic League student-athletes can play sports for the city school they would have attended.
Is it true that virtual schools have a “no home work and no back pack rule”?
Yes, that is a mostly true statement. At a virtual school students may be on-line for up to 4.5 to 5 hours per day depending on their progress and work habits. The school cannot in good conscience then request a student to go home and spend another 2 or 3 hours on-line.
We need to encourage students to “un-plug” and spend time with their families, read for pleasure and for enrichment, have after school jobs, spend time with friends, take care of siblings, take driver’s education classes, and still have time for the occasional school project. There will be some “home-work”, and because the curriculum is web based we can’t prevent subject work from being done at home, but part of the school strategy is to encourage less digital work after school.
Let’s make school as productive as possible and then use off school time for things that can’t be done in the digital environment.
As for back packs, seeing that the curriculum is web based, there is no need for any student to carry a backpack full of heavy books to school. Goodbye to the 25 pound spine bending burden! However, students may still need something for their novels, notebooks, snacks and sweaters!
Will each student have their own computer?
Our computer system is a “virtual desktop/thin client” server based network system. Each student has their own private workspace and workstation. The computing power for that work station is found on the server. There is a 1:1 ratio of students to desktops and workstations and each workstation has multiple electrical outlets.
Some virtual schools give laptops to each student; we won’t do that for many sound reasons. First, cost of repair, updates, and back up protection, firewall protection and unit replacement are too much. Second, having 136 laptops in circulation promotes potential loss, viruses, damage, theft and too much time at home on-line. Thirdly, within a virtual desktop environment students can move freely from learning center to class to design spaces and be able to log-in to their virtual desktop from any workstation in the school. Our virtual desktop method is simply the most cost efficient and technologically effective way to produce a sustainable hi-tech environment with a level of operational certainty for a seamless student on-line experience.
What kind of computer system will the school have?
Village Green has the newest and most modern school based computer system in the state of Rhode Island. Our server based, virtual desktop/thin client system will have multiple servers for back up and redundancy, multiple internet service providers so we’ll never be off line, state of the art student workstations, Wi-Fi in all rooms, firewalls, content filters, servers solely used to house instructional videos to reduce bandwidth use and an overall 1.5 :1 ratio of students to computers.
What type of student should apply to attend the school?
Any student who is between grades 9 and 12 should apply.
We can make that broad statement because of the school’s model. The flexibility of on-line curriculum is that it can be tailored to each student. If you need remediation, that’s where you start. If you need acceleration, then that’s your pace. How do you know when you’re finished … when are you proficient in that skill! Digital learning fits the student; the student is not made to fit the school. Students with diverse needs may find the ability to concentrate on a single subject at a time a method which suits their learning style.
However, VGV must be clear that any potential student of Village Green must be comfortable with computers and technology and be able to be self-paced, willing to ask for help when stuck and able to self-monitor their progress and time use.
What will the typical day look like?
School will start at 8:45 AM and end at 3:15 PM. The day will start with either a Town Meeting or an Advisory. Students then log on to their desktop and review progress across all subjects and review their “to do” lists for that day. Depending on the schedule designed by the teachers, students will either be in class for assistance or at their workstations doing their on-line lessons and assessments. Students will spend no more than two hours on-line without being in a “face to face” classroom with a teacher. Mid-morning break will be offered for leg stretching, lunch will be mid-day and the afternoon will end with more on-line learning and classes. There will be class rotations per day and depending on the student, those will be either on-line more and in-class less, or vice versa. A variety of activities will always be part of the day, however, if the on-line learning is going well and proficiency is being achieved then extra time on task is promoted and accommodated for. Our goal is to mirror the adult work day with regard to flexible use of time but still maintain structured timeframes as guideposts and transitions from one task or activity to another. We will balance student’s need for direction and structure with a sense of freedom and choice.
Is transportation offered?
Yes, to families that are in need, the school will buy a RIPTA monthly bus pass. However, at a cost of $62.00 per month we ask that only families who truly need a pass request one. Also, please know that need is not caused by “distance to school” alone. We know there are many factors which create the need for a bus pass but please just ask for one if the pass is really needed. Schools and families working together to find solutions can assist in protecting the school’s budget.
Are there uniforms?
Yes, there is a uniform policy which is kid and parent friendly. There are many colors, styles and logo variations for shirts and sweaters. Plus, a tan bottom (chinos, skirt, slacks, khaki or light brown jeans or corduroys) will complete the uniform. The school’s dress code will address concerns on the “appropriateness of accessories” but every student and family should know that the uniform should be worn neatly and with respect shown to the school and its citizens. The VGV logo must be visible.
What types of courses will a student take?
The school’s program of study aligns with the RI Department of Education’s graduation requirements. There are a total of 26 credits that can be earned and portfolio and capstone credits are included in the total of 26. Edgenuity offers AP curricula as well as credit recovery and many foreign languages.
Will there be Parents Organizations or other type of night activities?
Yes, but due to our central downtown location and a lack of parking, night activities take an extra level of commitment from families.