Our event committee decided that they wanted to have a BTVS float in the JGHS homecoming parade this year causing immediate interest in the rest of our student body. Parents, families, and students all gathered to collect supplies and design decorations for the float. We were able to obtain a trailer thanks to one of our student’s uncles, and a storage location thanks to another student’s grandmother. Students worked on decorations for a week, built the float in one day, and then had a blat dancing and throwing candy at the parade. Students are already generating ideas for next year, and have even expressed interest in bringing ATVs, horses from our horsemanship class, louder speakers for dancing, and BTVS shirts to represent our school pride!
Our Agrscience: Horsemanship students showed off their talents at the Grand K Ranch Tuesday night in front of their friends and families. The show had a judge, Mrs. Gretchen Irish, assess the students on their skills and knowledge of showmanship, leading and riding, various grooming and Ferrier techniques, and equipment knowledge. Students of any grade 3rd – 12th were permitted to join the class, and this was just one of the groups who performed. Other groups will be performing on Thursday night at the second mini-show..................................
The BTVS staff has looked at various methods to help students find success in the online world, and continue to strive for the best options for our students. This video is one such example, and an explanation of our change to block scheduling in the fall of 2017. When presented with this idea, every student gave an overwhelmingly positive response........................
New this semester we started partnership courses with Grand K Ranch, Studio 23 and Cosens MMA. Partnership courses are 100% online elective choices that offer a lab portion that is free to our students. The lab consists of a hands on component that takes place at the partnership’s location once a week where students utilize the skills and knowledge obtained from the online course. Too, the online course aligns to all activities at the partnership. High school students earn elective credits toward graduation through the partnership courses.
Our students experience horsemanship at the amazing Grand K Ranch of Bay City. At Grand K, they will learn how to safely interact with a horse including grooming, tacking, veterinary care, and shoeing of a horse. Soon they will be riding all on their own, and at the end of this semester BTVS students will put on a horse show for their family to come and watch!
At Studio 23 our students are enjoying working at beautiful Studio 23 in downtown Bay City. While online they learn about art history, various mediums of art, and works of famous artists. While at Studio 23 they are creating their own individual masterpieces that align to the specific mediums delivered in the online course.
Another one of our newest and exciting courses is our self-defense course at the energetic Cosens MMA, located in Bay City. The students meet at the gym and learn about their own health, preventive measures to violence, and the best techniques to use for self-defense. Their training not only gives them the tools needed to avoid conflict, but they also become healthier and more fit.
At Bangor Township Virtual School we offer more than just a great education that meets the Michigan Merit Curriculum, but we offer social events for all of our students. As public school teachers we understand that a large part of learning is socialization and interaction with others. We ensure that our program is a well rounded program with learning and interactions.
One of our more popular events includes a monthly gaming club meeting where we get out the projectors, turn down the lights and project video gaming devices such as the Wii and XBox on the walls in the gym. As well, we hold events periodically such as lunch picnics, outdoor movie nights, fishing with our outdoor club, and breakfast with the pancake club. We are also including field trips in conjunction with JGHS! One of which we went to Johnson’s Pumpkin farm in October to tour the corn maze, eat doughnuts, drink cider, and get a pumpkin!
Also, at least once a month our student social committee organizes a day of seasonal activities. We eat, play games, and have some plain old fun! We have already had a Halloween party with a movie marathon, holiday gift exchange, Thanksgiving feast, Valentine Scavenger Hunt, and have plans for an end of year barbecue, skiing trip to Apple Mountain, and more!
What to look for in the future
In the future we plan on growing in numbers, adjusting our drop-in work center hours to better fit the needs of our students. Next school year there will be more Bangor Township teachers added to our staff to control, edit, adapt, and create online courses for our students. These teachers will have be able to make direct face to fact contact with our student for support and align the courses to fit individual students. We also plan on adding more partnership courses, and some of the options that are in the planning process include cooking, swimming, advanced art, photography, music, dance and scuba diving.
We have finally surpassed 80 students! We are currently at 81, and growing. As we branch out to more partnerships, build more innovative course options, and develop more social and field trip events, more families are trying the virtual world at BTVS. If you feel that you want a consultation to see what we offer, please contact Mr. Albrecht at 989-684-8121 extension 1212.
We have three programs at the moment with Edgenuity, GradPoint, and Connexus. I recently spoke with the program director of Connexus, and we had a 100% passing rate of our completed courses this fall semester. That is an incredible boost from last year at this time. To give a little insight, of the 49 courses that were taken, 44 were completed and passed. The other 5 were not finished by the students who were enrolled. Great job to all of the students who did so well!
The Bangor Township Virtual School serves various types of students, for various different reasons, from various parts of the 6 counties it serves. In a recent article of the Report Card, we discussed why students choose the Bangor Township Virtual School as an alternative to their traditional settings. In this article, however, we will discuss the current state of the school, student numbers and demographics, course offerings, future courses, summer school, the structure of our schedule, and define a student in good standing.
The staff here is always asked how many previous traditional Bangor students are now at the virtual school. In other words, how many students have left John Glenn, Christa McAuliffe, or one of the elementary schools to join the online world of education? Out of our spring count, we have a total of 79 students. Of those 79 students, 32 are previous JGHS students, 11 are previous CMMS students, and 1 is a previous BTS elementary student. That is a total of 44 who chose to stay in our district, but needed an alternative setting to find success in their education. The other 35 students at BTVS come from places such as Millington Schools, Reese Schools, Carrolton Schools, Valley Lutheran, Peace Lutheran, Freeland Schools, Bridgeport Schools, Heritage High School, Standish Schools, Bay City Central and Western, All Saints, Great Lakes Bay Early College, Washtenaw Technical Middle College, and even some home school groups. As the word continues to spread that we have a solid and rigorous product to offer, we will continue to grow. The goal is to surpass 100 students in the fall of the 2017-2018 school year, and provide the best online option for students in the region.
What draws students to BTVS is that we offer an array of courses on two different programs that allow students to branch from the traditional elective offerings found at most brick and mortar schools. Also, we offer all of the State of Michigan Department of Education required courses at each grade level, and the 18 credits required for graduation on both programs. You can view a full catalog for our Connexus and GradPoint programs at www.btvs.org under current students. To highlight a few, here are some courses offered in each program:
We are planning to offer quite a bit more in the fall with the addition of partnership courses (you can read about these in another article in this edition). We have a fitness center at the Edison building that we plan to build fitness courses around. As well, we plan to develop outdoor survival, social media journalism, yearbook, Google tools, and more. We have surveyed our students for suggestions, and plan to incorporate more ideas in the future. One such idea that will go into effect immediately is summer school for credit recovery courses. The summer school will operate like any other where students will come into the Edison Administration building to utilize the lab at BTVS to complete their course work. The rules behind seat-time waivers do not allow distance learning for summer school unfortunately.
In addition to courses, we have developed a structuring system designed to aid student success. In many online schools, students are given one due date at the end of the semester in which all course work is due. What tends to happen is that students typically procrastinate until the very end. Grades, learning, growth, and retention tends to suffer when students do this. As a way to combat this issue, we have developed a system of checks that will go into effect in the fall of next school year. Each course will be broken up into quarters so that students must complete 25% of each course per month in which the grade will be entered as a weight of the overall score. The table below shows an example of how each course might be graded and weighted:
An additional piece to structure of the virtual school is the definition of student in good standing. A student in good standing is as follows:
· Passing each of their 7 courses at all times
· Maintains progress by meeting required weekly percent in ALL courses
· Have not been suspended in the 2016-2017 school year
· Have not violated the Academic Fraud policy
· Attended and completed all required State and District Assessments
· Have less than 12 recorded days without logging into their virtual program
· Have completed the two-way communication requirements for the count period
· Have all fees associated with BTVS paid in full, including breakfast/lunch accounts
This policy ensures that students are to be held accountable for their education and actions as a virtual learner with the Bangor Township Virtual School in order to remain with the program.
You may already know that we have partnered with Cosens MMA, Grand K, and Studio 23 to offer some hands-on experiences for our students. What you may not know is that we are only beginning to build partnerships with local businesses. We are already in the preliminary process of locating and contacting businesses who could help us with labs to support our 100% online courses that we are building for the fall of 2017.
The courses that we are beginning to develop include cooking, advanced art, music (guitar, drums, etc.), dance and gymnastics, scuba diving and snorkeling, swimming, fitness and weight training, outdoor survival, and social media journalism! If you, or someone you know, owns a company that is interested in partnering with us, please contact Mr. Albrecht at 989-684-8121 extension 1212. We are looking for companies to build around the courses already going into place, and we are also looking for suggestions for additional course ideas.
This is only the beginning of BTVS looking to change the world of education as we know it for our amazing students!
This semester has started off excellent. Our numbers have dipped a little since the spring of 2016 when we had 71 students. We are now at 68 students total, but hope to grow past 100 by the fall of next year. Students and parents are now starting to understand that they can get the same quality education that you can get in any public school right here at the Bangor Township Virtual School.
In addition to having the same exact curriculum, we can offer a few things that traditional schools cannot. Traditional classrooms come with a number of drawbacks that can be avoided with our program. There are distractions with the overflowing students numbers in a classroom, assemblies, snow days, review and spiral days, substitute busy work days, and so on. Because of these distractions, it is often difficult for teachers to get through the WHOLE curriculum in a school year. With our program, you get the whole curriculum on day one! You do now miss any of it, and have a better chance to reach full growth over the course of the year.
Also, the traditional schools are limited in their elective options due to staffing and schedules. If you look at our course catalogs under prospective students, you will see many course options that you will not see anywhere else. We have a ton of language choices including Chinese, Japanese, German, Latin, and even Sign Language. Also, there are many CTE choices such as medical assisting, sports management, and many crime and law courses. We even have a Lord of the Rings course that focuses on the character building and story lines of the movie trilogy. It is an extensive catalog that offers more than you can find at any other local institution!
The traditional classroom is still the best environment for all students, but some just need the alternative of home school, home bound services, or online school. So if you are considering something new, set up an appointment with Mr. Albrecht, and he will get you moving in the right direction.
In the 2016-2017 school year, there will be quite a few additions and changes coming to the Bangor Township Virtual School. There will be field trips, academic and non-academic clubs, bi-weekly grade level meetings, and more. However, the most important news is our change to include GradPoint as our base learning option for our 6-12 students in addition to already providing Connections Learning.
GradPoint will allow BTVS to control curriculum choices, use Bangor Teachers, and allow us to team up with a consortium of school districts that are ahead of the virtual school game. We will be able to continue to offer AP courses, remedial intervention courses, many more electives, and partnership courses. To listen to our Director speak about our transition to GradPoint, listen to the upcoming podcast on June 27th.