FAQ

Burke County Virtual Academy

Burke County Virtual Academy is a virtual school of choice in the Burke County School System.  Students in grades K-12 will enjoy a flexible, supported approach to online learning. As students work through daily lessons, their online teachers provide them with meaningful and timely feedback and instruction in a virtual setting.

Who is eligible to attend?

Any North Carolina student, who will be in grades K-12 for the 2020-2021 academic year, may apply to attend. Students should demonstrate they have the ability to be successful in a virtual learning environment.  

What are the benefits of the Burke County Virtual Academy?

A virtual school offers several benefits. The most significant one is the flexibility online learning provides for students.  While a traditional school has a more formal structure and schedule, online learning allows students and parents to organize their daily school work routine. For students who may be pursuing other interests in areas such as elite athletics, equestrian and similar competitions, or the fine arts, the flexible schedule alleviates conflicts between school and other commitments. Virtual learning also offers a personalized learning program that is tailored to a student’s needs, and provides parents the opportunity to guide and facilitate their child’s education in the home environment.

What classes will be offered?

All Burke County Virtual classes are aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, and include all core content areas: English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.  Some elective classes will be offered.

Is all instruction offered online?

Yes. All instruction is online. Students do not have to go to a school or other location to complete their classes.

How many courses can my child take?

Depending on the type of enrollment desired and grade level, students may take anywhere from a minimum of two (2) to eight (8) courses each year. The number of courses will be driven by enrollment status.

■ What if my child has special learning needs?

District teachers will be trained to meet the needs of all students through a virtual platform. Students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will receive specially designed instruction and/or related services as determined by the IEP team from a licensed special education teacher.  Accommodations and/or modifications on an IEP or 504 plan will be delivered by all teachers as indicated on the student’s plan. Once a student with an IEP or 504 plans is accepted for enrollment in the Academy, the student’s team will meet and determine appropriate services.

Students who have an English Learner Plan will receive additional support through either English language development direct instruction supplied by a certified English as a Second Language (ESL)  teacher, or by the ESL teacher teaching together with the regular teacher, or by the ESL teacher reviewing progress and making recommendations for instruction as needed.  The level of ESL services depends on the student’s English language proficiency scores and will be considered on a case-by-case basis to best meet your child’s needs.

How much does it cost?

There is no tuition cost to attend.  Like in other schools, there may be additional fees or supplies that will need to be provided by the student.

Who are the teachers?

All BCPS teachers are licensed and highly qualified in North Carolina.

How are the virtual classes structured?

All Burke County Virtual Academy classes are offered online.  Our Canvas courses, designed by talented local teachers,  provide students engaging and interactive instruction. While students have flexibility about where and when to complete assignments, they are expected to login and work every school day, and to follow course deadlines established by their teacher.  Our academy follows the Burke County Schools Calendar.

What technology will a student need at home?

Students need access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection. Student computers should be equipped with a web camera and microphone to allow for virtual video conferences.  If you do not have this technology available please contact us to explore possible options.

Can homeschool students apply?

Yes. Burke County Virtual Academy is ideal for students in a homeschool setting because they receive additional academic support while maintaining a flexible schedule and personalized learning.  Since our academy does not charge tuition, enrolling will eliminate the cost associated with purchasing online content for your children.

What academic support is in place for students?

The student’s teacher is the first point of contact to provide instruction, guidance, and help.  Please remember that virtual learning inherently will have less hands on academic support than face to face teaching.  Students who need support that exceeds the capacity of the Burke County Virtual resources may be recommended for transfer to one of our traditional schools. Virtual learning may not be the best fit for all students.

What if I am accepted and after the school year begins I realize that virtual school is not for me?

If you start school on August 17, 2020 in the Burke County Virtual Academy you are expected to maintain enrollment until the end of the Fall semester on December 18, 2020.  Similarly, if you begin the Spring semester on January 4, 2021 you are expected to maintain enrollment until the end of the Spring semester on May 28, 2021.

Can my child participate in extracurricular activities?

Yes students that are enrolled in a Burke County School for at least half of the day or 180 minutes (at least 2 courses) can participate in extracurricular activities.  

What is the amount of time my child will be learning each day?

Blended learning:  Is there Time everyday for live learning?  

Our goal is that teachers will have a set live learning time weekly to build relationships with students.  It will not be expected everyday but we will use a blended learning approach where students will meet with their teacher as well as participate in assignments independently.  

When is the Deadline to apply:

All applications should be submitted by August 1st to allow us to plan appropriately.  We want to have all of our students and teachers in place to make it a great start to the school year.  

A school Day in the Virtual Academy:

Elementary a teacher may record a video or read aloud and then students may be required to do an assignment whenever is best for them which would be asynchronous instruction.  Then they would watch another video maybe on Math and complete an assignment.  Another day the teacher may schedule a live synchronous session to teach content live.  

Middle School and High School classrooms will also use a blended model with more asynchronous learning which is where students would be given assignments to complete for the week.  Students will also receive some synchronous time with their teacher throughout the week.

What about attendance, grades, and feedback?

Attendance will be taken daily according to the NCDPI guidelines.  Students should log on everyday.  We do not expect a child to sit at the computer from 8:00-2:00 daily but we do expect them to meet the scheduled times weekly that are set by their teacher.  Grades will be given according to the BCPS policy and feedback will be given on all work.  Feedback is very important to measure the growth of each student.  Feedback is also a great way for parents to understand how they are doing.  

If I am working during the day can I work with my child in the evening?

Yes the virtual academy offers flexibility to families.  The assignments and work that is assigned to students weekly can be completed when it is convenient for the family.  The only time that students may be asked to join during the day would be for a live session where the student would meet synchronously with their teacher.  

How will parents be involved?

Parents will need to support their students by helping them establish a schedule and a workplace at home.  Teachers will provide the instruction but parents may need to assist their student with some academic support.

Will instruction in the Virtual Academy be different than what was taught in March of 2019?

Last March we were not able to teach new standards.  The Virtual Academy will be teaching new standards and content.

What materials are needed?

A device, high speed internet, and the normal school supplies you would normally need to complete assignments and work.  More specific items will be communicated if needed when school begins.

Where can I find updates and more information as it is developed?

We have created a webpage off of the BCPS home page that will house all of the announcements and updates for the Burke Virtual Academy.  

What if I am accepted and after the school year begins I realize that virtual school is not for me?

If you start school on August 17, 2020 in the Burke County Virtual Academy you are expected to maintain enrollment until the end of the Fall semester on December 18, 2020.  Similarly, if you begin the Spring semester on January 4, 2021 you are expected to maintain enrollment until the end of the Spring semester on May 28, 2021.

Can my child participate in extracurricular activities?

Yes students that are enrolled in a Burke County School for at least half of the school day can participate in extracurricular activities.  This includes the Virtual Academy.  BCPS Policy 4160

What if I want to do Middle School Band?

You will be required to take band from your middle school.  Please contact them to find out when you need to report to school each day for band.  

Will all of the high school courses be virtual?  

Not all of the high school courses will be virtual.  We will try to offer as many as possible but courses will not be decided until after August 1st.  High school courses depend on enrollment numbers.  Courses like CTE, Band, Chorus , and courses that require a hands on learning experience will have to be taken at the traditional high school.  We will partner with other virtual resources like NCVPS, CCP, NCSSM, and APEX to help students get the courses they need.

Who should I contact if I have questions about the Burke County Virtual Academy or need assistance with the application process?

Please email burkevirtual@burke.k12.nc.us