(Rutherford County, Tenn.) While the term ‘virtual school’ may conjure memories of the pandemic, Rutherford County Virtual School continues into its third year, pushing the virtual school model to greater success drawing its largest number of enrolled students yet.
At the head of the school is Jessica Supakhan, who previously worked at Holloway High School for 11 years.
“We serve a wide range of students,” Supakhan said. “We have students with health issues, social anxiety, student parents, and students who just want to graduate a year early. We do a four-by-four block schedule which is very similar to a college environment.”
In fact, many students at RCVS are either dual enrolled at Motlow college, MTSU, or who are taking place in a work study program at Nissan. Students at RCVS can get ahead and experience programs which other traditional schools may not offer.
“We’re also preparing students who want the path of direct employment — looking for high wage, high skill jobs around Rutherford County,” said Supakhan. “That’s how we began our partnership with Nissan. So, our students that are earning high school credit and in the work program, they’re also making right around $18 an hour and have the option of direct employment once they finish school.”
For some parents, RCVS offers a break from a traditional classroom environment.
Crystal Duncan has two students enrolled at RCVS and the virtual environment has not limited her children’s education, she said.
“We chose RCVS because it fits our unique needs. It allows our children to stay in their home environment, while getting interaction from peers and encouragement from local teachers,” Duncan said. “It also allowed us freedom as parents to take part in their education without having to be in charge of every component.”
RCVS is open to enrollment to new students, and in fact has an upcoming enrollment window this November. Supakhan hopes to see many students join the RCVS family.
“What has attracted other families to us is the flexible schedule we offer. Many parents who have come to us have opted out of home school or want their kids closer to them because they’re working from home. We offer a high quality curriculum. Second, we all need human connection — so we have connection Fridays. We offer many clubs and chances for students to connect outside of the virtual environment,” Supakhan said.
These Connection Fridays give students who are attending the virtual school a chance to bond and make friends in person. From guitar classes to field trips — Connection Fridays provide interaction which is meaningful.
"Since we are a virtual school, I feel the importance of getting together and that human connection is even more important than a traditional brick-and-mortar school,” said Wendell Porterfield, Fine Arts teacher at RCVS. “Dr. Supakhan and the entire staff work very hard to make each Connection Friday special, unique and fun. From 4-H activities, to going to the skating rink, to an outdoor picnic and field day, Connection Friday is planned to give students (and families) an opportunity to socialize and learn while having a great experience.”
For those interested in joining, enrollment for RCVS is open to students in grades 3-12, and the school is currently accepting applications for students to begin in January. The application is attached and is also available on the RCVS website HERE.
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