middle school boy with a big smile

Our instructors listen to the needs and interests of students and their families. They have the flexibility to think beyond the traditional constraints of school to create meaningful, relevant experiences for each student. Place and time are no longer limits. They are assets that VLACS students use to gain real-world experiences and build new skills.

A Competency-Based Approach

We have a full complement of middle school courses as well as a variety of high school learning journeys in which students can enroll. During the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, students are required to complete English, math, social studies, science, physical education, advisory, and an elective course. We recommend that every middle school student complete at least one high school course.

We are a competency-based school. We define competencies as the big ideas, concepts, and enduring understandings that students are expected to master before moving on. For example, English Language Arts students at this level are expected to demonstrate the ability to write persuasively and support claims and reasoning with sufficient evidence for intended purpose and audience.

Students learn at different speeds and many will benefit from having more time to master a concept. Others may like to accelerate their learning to learn at a quicker pace. The same student that struggles with one competency may find that the next competency is easier for them to master, and thus progress more quickly. Students can take as much time as they need to learn because, at our school, success is the only goal. This allows students to move through their learning journey at VLACS without labels based on their learning pace. Students who meet the prerequisites for high school learning journeys and competency groups (courses, projects, etc.) are welcome to enroll as part of their middle school experience. And yes, all high school credits that are earned in middle school will “count” toward graduation at VLACS.

Badges

Badges symbolize a student’s competency in a skill, qualification, or interest. At VLACS, students can earn digital badges by completing eligible competencies and experiences. These badges make it possible for students to explore career-related interests, accelerating their readiness for college and career. Learn more about badges here.

Standardized Assessments

All New Hampshire resident students are required to take the NH SAS Assessment in grades 6, 7, and 8.

Student Supports

Students enrolled in six classes will have up to six instructors and an advisor working directly with them in addition to the academic helpdesk, technical HelpDesk, and the VLACS office staff. Every VLACS middle school student has a team of professionals who do their best to ensure that they have the best possible learning experience.

Instructors

Certified and experienced instructors provide one-to-one instructional support and feedback to students on a regular basis. Parents are always encouraged to become involved in their child’s academic career at VLACS. In addition to virtual meetings, parents receive communications and progress reports from their student’s instructors on a monthly basis. Parents and guardians can check on student’s progress anytime through their parent account at VLACS.

Advisors

The main goal of the middle school advisory program is to ensure that every student is successful. All full-time middle school students are assigned to an advisor and advisory group. During a student’s tenure at VLACS, the advisor serves as a student’s advocate, coach and counselor, and the primary contact for parents or guardians. Through advisory, students have opportunities to identify and explore interests, talents, or passions help inform course and project selection, internship opportunities, and other offerings to prepare each student for college and career.

Help Desk

Students can access the Academic Help Desk to get answers to questions related to their courses if their instructor is not available. To locate the Academic Help Desk, visit your course page, select the "Need Help?" button and answer the prompted questions.

Additionally, our Technical Help Desk staff are available to help solve problems with any VLACS technology. If students or parents have other questions that they need answered, our office staff is available Monday through Friday to help.

Special Education Services

At VLACS, students work at a pace that meets their needs and have the opportunity to redo assignments, tests, and projects as they work toward the mastery of competencies. In many cases our learning model meets the requirements prescribed in IEPs. When additional support is required, as per the IEP, our staff works with the student’s school district to create a positive learning experience. As per New Hampshire law, a student’s resident district shall have the responsibility, including financial responsibility, to ensure the provision of the special education and related services in the child’s IEP. New Hampshire law does not apply to out-of-state students.

Accelerated Learning

Every student can excel at VLACS. Students who want to accelerate their learning by progressing at a quicker pace are welcome at VLACS. Looking for advanced courses? Students who have met the prerequisites for high school courses can begin earning credits toward graduation while in middle school.

Middle School FAQs

Browse the learning catalog

VLACS offers a wide variety of subjects, from traditional math and science studies to special interests like photography and walking fitness. Take a look for yourself!