City Introduces Virtual Classes to Teens, Hopes to Minimize Monotony

High School students that take a seventh period class may have a new option to facilitate their learning experience.

The Leon County School Board is expected to consider removing some seventh period classes on school premises replacing them with virtual courses.

LCS encourages students to take seven class periods if they are attempting to receive extra assistance after struggling with passing the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, and gives students a chance to earn extra credits towards the 24 credit hours mandated by the state.

The Florida Legislature is still finalizing the state budget for programs such as the seventh periods in Leon County.

The School Board has been funding seventh periods in schools for the past six to seven years according to Chris Petley, communications manager for Leon County Schools.

“The school board provides $3 million a year towards seventh periods, and about 10% of students are enrolled in seventh periods,” said Petley.

The 2012 state budget is set to be finalized in May. This finalization will influence the decision to implement virtual seventh periods. Leon County School Board’s budget is not expected to be the same going forward to continuously fund the classes. Having a virtual seventh period is just in the recommendation stage; however, out of the five superintendents of the school board, a majority vote will be the deciding factor.

Having an online class may be a double-edged sword for students and faculty. The average school day begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 1:45 p.m. With an additional period, students are done by 2:45 p.m. Students at Amos P. Godby High School, gave their opinion on the possibility of having the additional class offered virtually.

“I had a seventh period last year and I would have rather go home and take it,” said sophomore Alexis O’neal. “Students are ready to go home and they have to sacrifice leaving and stay after just to get the extra credit,” said sophomore Terrell Williams.

At-home convenience is an advantage to a few students, but downsizing faculty and staff is a disadvantage for those looking to be in the classroom for a seventh period. “We would love to provide in-class experience for our students, but we have to do the best with what we have,” said Petley.

The anticipated vote for the replacement of a seventh period in high schools with a virtual class will be under heavy surveillance by those students, faculty, and staff that may have to alter their plans for the new fiscal year. The seventh period will be offered in all five of the county’s major high schools: Chiles, Godby, Leon, Lincoln, and Rickards.