Blount County Virtual Program Guidelines


Blount County Virtual Program Guidelines

Blount County Schools
Rodney P. Green, Superintendent 

POLICY: 5.5.1
THE BRIDGE ACADEMY, A NON-TRADITIONAL PUBLIC EDUCATION VIRTUAL/BLENDED PROGRAM OPTION FOR BLOUNT COUNTY STUDENTS

The Blount County School System offers a non-traditional public education for eligible 9-12 students provided through The Bridge Academy. Courses are facilitated by highly qualified, certified teachers through high-quality online curriculum aligned to the ALSDE-CCRS. 

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA 
The Bridge Academy courses and programs are free for enrolled full-time students meeting the residency requirements of Blount County Schools. Students in grades 9-12 who live in areas zoned for Blount County Schools but who are not currently enrolled, may enroll in their zoned school and be served through The Bridge Academy virtually as long as they meet all eligibility requirements of both the local school and the Academy. 

Blount County students may also take virtual courses on a part-time basis from their local schools if approved by the counselor and principal. 

Application for Full-Time Virtual/Blended Enrollment 
The curriculum is extremely rigorous and requires that students be highly motivated and self-disciplined. To ensure that students will be successful in this environment, full-time enrollment requires that the student must have and maintain a 2.0 grade point average (GPA). It is also recommended that the student has completed and passed at least one (1) blended or virtual course. This recommendation may be served during a probationary period while at the local school if there are questions about the student’s abilities to succeed in a virtual learning environment. 

Student Criteria Checklist
Discuss The Bridge Academy option with local school counselor and/or principal.
Submit a formal on-line application if approved by the local school.
Maintain a minimum of a 2.0 non-weighted GPA.
Demonstrate good attendance.
Demonstrate positive behavior (no significant patterns of disciplinary infractions).
Read at or above grade level.
Perform math at or above grade level.
Successfully complete an interview process.
Demonstrate past success with online learning (recommended).
Demonstrate strong parent/guardian support from home. 

Final Exam Requirements 
In order to receive credit for blended and virtual courses, students are required to take all final exams in a proctored setting. In the event that a student does not pass the final exam but passes the course based upon completion of course assignments, the student will be required to demonstrate mastery via alternative assessments to ensure that academic integrity is not compromised. Only until the student can demonstrate mastery of core course content will the credit be issued when the student fails the final exam.

No Exemption of Final Exams
 
The Blount County Bridge Academy final exams are the culminating assessment used to determine mastery of key concepts and state standards. Additionally, the proctored exam authenticates the work of the student and maintains the integrity of non-traditional courses. Therefore, no exemptions are granted for final exams, except in classes with end-of-course testing (i.e. – Advanced Placement, college courses, or ALSDE required testing). 

Exam Administration (Full-Time Enrollment) 
Full-time students are required to take all exams worth more than or equal to ten percent (10%) of the course grade/average at The Bridge Academy or other approved testing locations. 

Early Exam Administration 

Blended and virtual learning allows Academy students the opportunity to learn at an accelerated rate and complete a course early and at various points during the semester. For optimal performance on exams, students will be allowed to take the exam upon completion of the course. For exams requiring proctoring, full and part-time students may make an appointment at The Bridge Academy or any other approved testing center and take the exam early. Students may also take proctored exams at the regularly scheduled testing date and time. Only students that completed all coursework will be allowed to take the exam early. 

Athletic and Extra-Curricular Programs (Full-Time Enrollment) 
At this time, The Bridge Academy does not have an athletic program available for full-time students. Both full-time and part-time students are allowed to participate with their full-time school if they meet all other Alabama High School Athletic Association requirements or other requirements set forth in the bylaws of each extracurricular group as agreed upon by the local school administration. While The Bridge Academy may offer NCAA-approved courses, it is recommended that student-athletes seeking eligibility and/or scholarships for Division I and/or Division II athletics should consider completing all courses traditionally at their local school.  

General
The Superintendent of Schools shall implement this policy and develop administrative guidelines and forms necessary for the same. 

Blount County Bridge Academy Blended and Virtual Program Options Authority/References Ala. Code § 16-11-9 (1975); Ala. Act No. 2015-89. 

The Blount County Schools’ Bridge Academy will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicapping conditions, including limited English proficiency, in its decision, nor will it enforce this policy in such a manner that would otherwise violate state or federal law or court order.  

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