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Getting to know the North Carolina Virtual Public School

If you are not familiar with the North Carolina Virtual Public School, we are the nation’s second largest state-led virtual school with over 50,000 enrollments each year. We deliver high-quality online courses that are taught by certified North Carolina teachers to students from across the state regardless of their zip codes.

We opened our doors in the summer of 2007, and we have had the privilege to teach students from the Outer Banks to the Appalachian Mountains. We have experienced over 300 percent growth in enrollments since our inception. In the 2014-15 school year (summer school, fall, and spring classes), we had over 55,000 enrollments. That was our largest enrollment for a school year, and it included students from all 115 North Carolina school districts, over forty charters schools, and a growing number of private school and home-schooled students. The 2015-16 is off to a great start with over 26,500 students, our largest fall enrollment ever.  

North Carolina school leaders recognize the flexibility of online learning, and in North Carolina that flexibility comes with reliability and accountability in NCVPS courses. Our courses are rigorous, and our teachers are held to the highest standards that often surpass the traditional classroom.

Jessica Ludders was NCVPS’s Teacher of Year for 2015. She is the instructional lead in the Teachers in Training program and is the team lead for course revisions. She is also the course lead for English 2.
Jessica Ludders was NCVPS’s Teacher of Year for 2015. She is the instructional lead in the Teachers in Training program and is the team lead for course revisions. She is also the course lead for English 2.

Our teachers are at the heart of what we do. Our courses are teacher driven. We are not an online software program. All of our teachers are certified in North Carolina and have met the “highly qualified” standard established by the Department of Public Instruction before they can apply to teach with NCVPS.

Prospective teachers must successfully complete our “Teacher Induction Process,” which is a 16-week program consisting of 8 weeks of online training followed by a 8-week practicum (a student-teaching experience).

When instructors teach their first online course with us, they are as well-trained as any online teachers in the nation. Our teachers become highly proficient in the use of modern technology tools for teaching and learning, skills that they take back to their traditional classrooms, too. That is a great bonus for the traditional classrooms!

Here is a snapshot of our teaching staff:

Total Teachers: 500+ per semester

Master’s Degrees: 64 percent

Nationally Board Certified: 43 percent

North Carolina Highly Qualified: 100 percent

Andrea G. was an NCVPS art student this summer. Here’s an image of her client design project.
Andrea G. was an NCVPS art student this summer. Here’s an image of her client design project.

NCVPS offers over 150 different courses, including advanced placement, electives, traditional, honors, core, STEM, occupational course of study, and credit recovery courses. North Carolina students have earned over 270,000 credits in our courses. That is a lot of promotions and graduations. We are pleased to help advance those efforts!

We help schools across the state expand their own catalogs by offering courses that they might not otherwise be able to offer. For instance, a district might have five students from three different schools who want to take Japanese, but that is not enough demand to hire a Japanese teacher. In the past, those students would go unserved. Now schools turn to NCVPS to satisfy those types of enrollment demands.

Having access to NCVPS courses helps students personalize their education with classes that they have a keen interest in. Additionally, students from all parts of the state can now compete equally for college admissions and scholarships.

We have had an incredible collection of students from across the state enrolled in our courses. This past year, we had a student who was on the USA’s national gymnastics team, and she needed a flexible schedule to pursue her dreams. We have had a student who was a professional race car driver. He was able to travel across the country and compete because he was able to enroll in our courses. We had a student who was on the junior pro tennis tour who needed a flex schedule to meet her travel demands. All three students were also able to stay enrolled in their local schools, too, as we are a supplemental program for all North Carolina public schools.

We have also had students in less fortunate circumstances. We had a soccer player who broke her leg so badly that she had to go on home-bound status. She took all of her advanced placement classes with us and earned a Morehead scholarship later that year. We have had a student who was the primary caregiver for his ill parent, and he needed time away from the traditional school setting. We have had students who were the primary source of income for their families, and they needed to adjust their school schedules to allow time for work. We have had a number of students who have been able to continue their education and stay connected while undergoing treatments during extended hospital stays.

We are proud that we were able to help all of these students and thousands of other students throughout North Carolina, and we still move forward with a sense of urgency. These students found success because they had the opportunity to take classes with us. We love helping North Carolina be a land of opportunity.


Learn more about the North Carolina Virtual Public School at our website: http://www.ncvps.org/

Adam Renfro

Adam Renfro is an outreach and support coordinator for the North Carolina Virtual Public School.