The pandemic forced thousands of students to try virtual schooling for the first time over the last year. For families who feel virtual education best suits their needs, the district in the fall will launch the Dearborn Public Schools Virtual K-12 School.
This new school will not have its own physical building, but will operate like a distinct school in the Dearborn Public family of schools. Children from kindergarten through high school will be taught by Dearborn Public School teachers following the district’s curriculum, calendar and schedule. Parents interested in the program must transfer or enroll their child by June 8. Students who ask to transfer later will be placed on a waiting list and will only be moved into the program if staffing is available. The program is open to any students who live in the Dearborn Public Schools district.
Dearborn Public Schools plans to start the new school year on Aug. 30 with classes face to face all day every day for students not enrolled in the new Virtual K-12 School.
For the current 2020-21 school year, the district offered families the chance to participate in a new Virtual Learning Program. However, all those students were still closely linked to their home schools and officially enrolled at those schools.
The new Virtual K-12 School will have its own teachers, and students at all grade levels will attend classes dedicated to online students only. Students will have a full day of live lessons every day. Elective class options may be limited at the middle and high school level.
“For most students, face-to-face learning is the best option for the greatest student success,” said Superintendent Glenn Maleyko. “But Dearborn Public Schools has long prided itself on providing a variety of options so students and families can create a unique learning plan to suit their child’s needs. The new Virtual K-12 School is another way we can do that.”
By early April, more than 7,000 students were enrolled in the district’s Virtual Learning Program. The district has about 20,500 students. Students currently enrolled in VLP will need to transfer into the new Virtual K-12 if they want to continue to learn online next school year.
The new Virtual K-12 School will require students to come in to pick up materials periodically and possibly for state-required testing. High school students will also be required to take finals in a school building.
Virtual K-12 students agree to have their cameras on during class. Students who transfer are committing to attending Virtual K-12 for the entire school year. Middle and high school students would still be allowed to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities at what would have been their home school in the district (pending state approval for high school sports). Students who graduate from Virtual K-12 will still have their own special celebrations including prom, seniors honors night and graduation.
Parents interested in transferring their child into Virtual K-12 should visit the school’s website at www.vk12.dearbornschools.org to learn more. Parents are asked to attend a virtual Zoom meeting about the program before committing to transferring their child.
“Barring any unforeseen changes, we plan to reopen next school year with full time, face-to-face instruction for our students which is aligned with the current state law,” Dr. Maleyko said. “For parents who want their child to remain online, we encourage them to transfer to this new Dearborn Public Schools Virtual K-12 before the June 8 deadline. Because of staffing, we cannot promise to admit those who ask to transfer after the deadline.”