Pauline Landrigan (left) and Lisa Kent demonstrate what it's like to teach for VLACS, the state's only online charter school. Credit Sam Evans-Brown/NHPR
VLACS’ Unique Online Formula Takes Center Stage
The many benefits of online learning with Virtual Learning Academy Charter School took center stage recently thanks to a two-part series featured on New Hampshire Public Radio.
NHPR reporter Sam Evans-Brown dedicated the series to the flexibility and accessibility of online learning at VLACS. Using real life examples of VLACS students, the report highlighted the many tenets of VLACS’ unique take on online education—particularly the opportunities for competency recovery and academic advancement.
The first segment featured Tristan Quismundo, a high school student in need of help with his English courses who turned to VLACS for assistance. Quismundo admittedly had little interest in learning English literature in the classroom, so rather than continue to struggle, he enrolled in VLACS as a part-time student and almost instantly began to notice results.
Quismundo described the VLACS model as something that worked better for him because it allowed him to go at his own pace, and focus on the subject when it was convenient for him.
The story also focused on VLACS student Shelby Moore, a former homeschool student who enrolled with the academy on a full-time basis. As a member of one of VLACS’ first graduating classes, Moore described her experience with VLACS as being incredibly valuable—and noted particularly how it prepared her for college.
“I actually went to college with 21 credits, so I was able to experience what the college workload was like from home,” she said.
The second edition showcased student stories like that of Siri Condike, a VLACS student who utilized the flexibility of online learning to earn money at a part-time retail job at the mall. Condike was able to communicate with her instructor in a back room at her retail job via a program similar to Skype.
“[VLACS is] super flexible, I love it,” she explained. “As you can see I’m having a call from the Hollister back room at the mall, which is kind of amazing to me.”
The interaction between Condike and her instructor reported in the story was truly indicative of what has helped VLACS become a true virtual education powerhouse in New Hampshire.
Also featured in the series is VLACS CEO Steve Kossakoski, who explained the continual success of VLACS students and how the idea of online learning is growing year after year.
“Every single year, our test scores have been at or above the state averages in Math and Language arts and so-forth,” he says.
All in all, the NHPR series offered some great insight into the unique vision of online learning VLACS leaders strive to communicate to students and parents considering virtual learning as an alternative to traditional brick and mortar education.