Should FLVS Take up a Class Period? (FACEOFF)
November 22, 2018
The bell rings at 7:20 a.m. and every Miami Palmetto Senior High Student gets ready to start their day except the FLVS students still at home. The bell also rings at 1:15 p.m., and students make their way to sixth period except the Florida Virtual School students.
FLVS offers a variety of classes such as Calculus, French and even Advanced Placement courses like AP Computer Science. For many students, FLVS offers easy online courses to take rather than taking an elective at school. Online classes can either be taken as a first or sixth period, giving students the advantage of doing their FLVS courses at school, with some leeway. Some courses must be completed in order to meet graduation requirements and can actually be quite difficult depending on the level of difficulty for the course. Courses taken through FLVS have the same level of importance as regular courses taken at school.
With Florida Virtual School, students learn their course material through online textbooks and videos rather than having a teacher in person teach them their lessons. It can actually be harder to learn a course online, because students do not receive all the resources that regular in-school students have access to. FLVS courses count as actual classes, students receive credits for these courses and it appears on high school transcripts. Students need an hour for online classes because they will receive the same chance as students taking classes in school to earn and maintain a high grade in the class.
Completing work online can be challenging for some students, because they have the responsibility for staying on top of their work and making sure they complete their work. The extra hour given in lieu of a sixth period gives students time to learn their course material and complete their homework. This can be compared to how an average student in a classroom setting includes learning for an hour and then needing complete their homework after school.
While some students do take advantage of that extra hour and do not complete their FLVS work within the designated period, their work must be completed one way or another. At school, teachers like Mr. Morrison check the work of FLVS students to make sure that they complete a certain amount of assignments every two weeks. Every few weeks students have deadlines that must be met so even if students wanted to slack off, they still do not get that option; at the end of the day their work must be completed.
Overall, FLVS courses should take up a class period because of the amount of time it can take to complete the work for a difficult class such as Advanced Placement courses. Advanced Placement courses can be offered to students online and in school making those classes equally important. Also, FLVS courses require a higher level of responsibility from students because a teacher does not remind them when their assignments need to be completed for an hour, five days a week.
Palmetto has a policy that allows students to miss either their first or sixth class period as a Florida Virtual School period. Students can take a multitude of courses, ranging from Spanish to Physical Education to Advanced Placement Art History. These courses count as a part of a student’s official schedule, and will appear on their high school transcript. Students can also choose whether they would like their FLVS class to reflect one of their core academic courses, or whether the class will be an elective. While this can be a unique opportunity for Florida students, FLVS should be used to enrich a full-time high school students curriculum, not take the place of a class period.
FLVS offers a large variety of academically rigorous classes for Florida students. However, these classes often do not take the amount of time allotted by a normal class period in a school to complete. For example, in most FLVS classes students must submit three to five assignments per week, depending on the course. While this may seem like a lot, it does not amount to the five hours each week that the student misses from their traditional school, meaning that an FLVS student only taking one virtual class will end up losing school time.
FLVS courses are usually shorter than regular classes. At school, students know the exact amount of time they will be in each classroom, six hours a day, five days a week, for the entire year. However, in an FLVS class, students who work vigorously will generally be able to finish a course within a couple of months, meaning that they will only be losing whole weeks or even months from their school time.
In addition, many students do not decide to take an FLVS course simply because they think it is a better option online. Oftentimes, the decision stems from a desire to have the opportunity to wake up an hour later or leave school an hour earlier. As long as they are getting the work done, this is not the end of the world; however, it does dilute the motivation of the student and takes away from the actual rigour of the course. Most of the time, sixth period FLVS students are at even more of a disadvantage, because they will have to either come back to school for clubs, sports and honor societies, or just miss them completely. Socially and for the parent that wants their child to succeed, this is not an ideal situation.
Many students taking FLVS do so in addition to their normal academic and elective classes, not in spite of those courses. These courses can be an excellent way to enrich the educational experiences available at Palmetto, especially when they can be used as credit recovery or to take an extra Advanced Placement or elective course that one cannot fit in their schedule.