Fayette wraps up first year of online academy 2014.06.04

Fayette's first experience at developing a virtual academy has gone well, said Fayette Virtual Academy director Gene Rupp, and the consortium of 16 school districts continues to plan for the next school year.

Rupp applied for state funding and Fayette received a $3.4 million grant to develop a consortium of virtual academies.

"Fayette is the originator of the grant, but 16 schools are now developing the program," Rupp told board of education members May 16. "The impact is going to be felt by, I think, thousands of students across the five-county area."

Other consortium members are now developing virtual academies, but Fayette got a head start in January.

"We think we've been pretty successful, especially for the first year," Rupp said. "I'm really gratified at how hard students have worked. It's been rewarding for me and others."

The consortium is tied in with the Pearson company for class offerings, and Rupp considers the classes academically rigorous.

"We want this to be a place where when students enter the room, they're treated like adults. They have adult responsibilities and they learn to manage their time and manage their whole program."

Because Fayette is administering the grant, Fayette Board of Education members must approve expenditures. At the May meeting, board members approved spending $3,910 on advertising at theaters in Liberty Center, Wauseon, Bowling Green and Maumee to promote the virtual academy.

Three Cord Embroidery will be paid up to $12,000 to create a display for the Northwest Ohio Virtual Academy and for other promotional items.

Finally, the board approved spending up to $18,420 with Northwest State Community College for professional development for teachers and students. The services would include information about blended learning and flipped classrooms, and offering college classes and on-line learning.