Pitt County Schools Virtual Academy
BY MENNA ABDEL-SALAM ON SEPTEMBER 19, 2014
As the new school year begins, many students find themselves being placed in a new program in order to accommodate their schedules. Rose introduced this program, called Pitt County Schools Virtual Academy (PCSVA) to students on the first day of school.
PCSVA gives students the opportunity to take virtual classes online in order to finish graduation requirements or to receive extra credit hours. Counselor Paige Fuqua, who is in charge of PCSVA for Rose students, says that it will mainly be a test program this year.
“Last year there was a lot of talk about starting a new virtual academy, but this year Pitt County decided to go ahead with the idea,” Fuqua said. “However, since this online program is different from previous ones we’ve done in the past, we’re just going to test it out and see how well students cope with it.”
PCSVA gives any high school student in Pitt County the chance to take online classes either at home or during the middle of the school day. This program, unlike previous ones, is intended to be more convenient for students, and allows them to be more independent when working on assignments.
“I really like this program because it gives me the opportunity to pace myself and learn things on my own time, not to mention it is less stressful,” senior Abhijit Nekkanti said.
PCSVA is suitable for any students who may want to graduate early and receive their credits early, or simply for students who want to learn from the comfort of their own home.
“The main reason I decided to sign up for PCSVA was because I didn’t want to miss out on important class notes while leaving early for sports games,” junior Matthew Burne said. “Now I don’t have to worry about retesting or making up assignments because I can do it all at home when I have time after practices and games.”
There are several classes offered in PCSVA, such as American History, Precalculus, English III and IV, Chemistry and Earth science. All the classes available are at an honors level, and students can choose to take them as either one of their normal classes or as a fifth class.
“The main difference between PCSVA and our old program is that now students can sign up to take it as a fifth class rather than just a fourth class, depending on what they want,” Fuqua said.
Fuqua believes that PCSVA is being put into action this year in order to keep class levels lower, and in order to help students who want to graduate early finish their requirements.
“I’m taking Precalculus online as a fifth class only because it is my last math requirement and I just want to get it out of the way,” Nekkanti said. “I also don’t want to replace one of my other classes with Precalculus, so I think taking it as a fifth class would make more sense.”
Overall, many of the students taking online classes with PCSVA believe it is helpful to them and some counselors, such as Chyna Grady, believe it will be a success.
“I think this program will be great for students and once the program really kicks in it’ll be even greater,” Grady said.
Unlike Grady, Fuqua disagrees and believes an online class will not be as prosperous as a traditional class.
“Personally, I think it would be better if students sat in a normal classroom setting rather than sitting by a computer screen, but that’s just my own personal preference,” Fuqua said.
Although PCSVA is still being tested, many administrators believe it will be a success and will give students a bigger advantage at succeeding in the course.