BY KAREN CAMPBELL
Weakley County Schools Communications Director
WEAKLEY COUNTY (April 27) – Weakley County will have a new school in 2021-22. However, the only walls are firewalls and screen time is required. After learning valuable lessons from the Monitored Distance Education (MDE) option offered as a COVID precaution and with new technology gained from federal funding, Weakley County Virtual School is now accepting applications for the upcoming academic year.
Unlike the MDE program, which required daily check ins and the student to navigate computer-based curricula independently, the WCVS will be daily online classes led by certified teachers in core subjects and will follow the timing of a typical school day. Classes will be available for students from kindergarten to grade 12 who are currently enrolled in MDE. Laptops and headsets will be provided.
Other potential students for the WCVS option are current home-schooled learners.
Enrollment is limited. To be eligible, students must reside in Weakley County and have reliable internet access or a strong cell service. Current MDE and home school students will receive priority placement. Other applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis by Randy Frazier, director of Weakley County Schools.
WCVS students will be ineligible for athletics.
School lunches, which will once again be free for all Weakley County Schools students, will be available for pickup on a weekly basis. Library and counseling services as well as health screenings will be available.
Krystle Smith, who served as the coordinator for the MDE program, has been named principal of WCVS. She will supervise a staff of teachers who will utilize either Google Classroom or Zoom to meet daily with their students and make one-on-one attention available. Recruitment of the teaching personnel is under way and will be determined by enrollment size.
“Obviously, we feel our Weakley County Schools offer excellent learning environments,” said Smith, who taught at Martin Middle for 13 years before her current assignment. “But we also know intrapersonal learners excel when they have the opportunity to study independently. WCVS will be particularly attractive to those students and will allow us to draw on a myriad of online resources to further engage and prepare these students for what’s next.”
The WCVS physical location will be in the Personal Development Center at 8250 Hwy. 22, Dresden. Smith and teachers will maintain office hours there to work online in classes, conduct in-person meetings with parents and/or additional tutoring with students.
Students will be required to report for testing three times per year at the Personal Development Center.
Applications for Weakley County Virtual School are now available at https://tinyurl.com/wcsvirtualschoolapply. Applications must be received by May 14. Applying does not ensure acceptance into the program. All applicants will be notified of their status by June 14.