- December 21, 2020
Volusia County Schools is preparing to continue remote learning modalities for the spring semester, with plans needing to be submitted to the Florida Department of Education by Dec. 15.
Families with Volusia Live students will be contacted the first week of January to determine whether they will stick with the virtual option, or whether they will return to brick-and-mortar. Total enrollment in Volusia Live has decreased by about 42% since August, district data shows, as numbers fell from 15,087 to 8,673 as of Dec. 1
Volusia County Schools Superintendent Carmen Balgobin, who updated the School Board on the enrollment numbers at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8, said the district will continue to issue progress reports regarding the performance of these students. A new part of the education plan that will be submitted to DOE includes an intervention plan for failing students. Parents of these students who do not wish their students to return to brick-and-mortar will have to sign a written acknowledgment detailing they want to keep their child in Volusia Live despite their lack of academic progress.
Patty Corr, assistant superintendent for middle schools, said Volusia Live does work for some students. But for others, there is worry regarding their academics.
“That’s concerning, not just because we have accountability at the end of the year," Corr said. "It’s concerning because of the ripple effect of the learning loss that we are expecting to see as a result of our students not being face to face.”
Back in October, the district shared that almost two-thirds of secondary school students and one third of elementary school students enrolled in Volusia Live had a D or an F in at least one class. That number has since decreased in both elementary and high school as many students returned to brick-and-mortar. However, in middle school, the percentage has increased.
Another concern come spring semester involves students enrolled in Volusia Online. Though 85% of students currently enrolled in that modality plan to remain through the next semester, 15% are returning to brick-and-mortar. The issue is that Volusia Online follows a different curriculum map, and transitioning students are often behind their brick-and-mortar classmates in some lessons, and ahead in others.
Volusia County School Board member Jamie Haynes said that apart from the 15% who already said they are returning, once the second semester starts the district should make sure the remaining students don't transition. It can be disruptive to the classes, Haynes said.
“We as teachers have always been used to, 'You get a kid. You lose a kid,'" Haynes said. "Okay, but it’s been like a revolving door this year.”