FAQs

Browse some of our most frequently asked questions.

General Questions FAQs

Approvals and Accreditation

VLACS is a state approved charter school and public school. Our approval to serve as a school comes directly from the NH State Board of Education which grants us the ability to award high school diplomas and academic credits. To ensure that our programming and services meet the requirements set forth by the NH Board of Education we must submit an annual report describing and documenting our work, plus, every five years we are required to participate in a charter renewal process that is identical to many independent accreditation processes.

 

Approvals/Accreditation

·       New Hampshire Board of Education – The Board sets standards and approves all public schools in New Hampshire.

·       National Collegiate Athletic Association – The NCAA approves certain courses for

·       prospective student-athletes seeking NCAA initial-eligibility.  A list of VLACS approved classed can be found at: https://web1.ncaa.org/hsportal /exec/hsAction

·       Advanced Placement – All VLACS Advanced Placement courses are audited by the College Board on an annual basis.

·       A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau

 

Awards/Recognition

·       New England Conference on Gifted & Talented Award, 2009

·       NH Excellence in Education Special Recognition Award, 2009 and 2016

·       Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Recipient, 2012

 

New Hampshire Charter Renewal Process

 

The renewal process consists of a comprehensive on-site review conducted by a team of educators to determine if the school has adequately fulfilled the promises outlined in its charter.

The on-site review team conducts focus group interviews with school leadership, teachers, parents, students and members of the Board of Trustees.

The school’s performance described in the renewal application, yearly assessment results and charter accountability documents provides, along with the on-site review, the evidence needed to monitor progress toward the charter school’s academic performance, financial and organizational goals and sustainability.

Overall findings of the school’s performance and a recommendation for renewal will be presented to the New Hampshire State Board of Education. The State Board of Education will make the final determination to renew the charter school for another five-year term.

 

Source:  NH Department of Education, Renewal Process for Charter Schools

What is the tuition rate for out-of-state students?

Tuition & Fees: NH Residents

If you’re a resident of New Hampshire, you can enroll full-time or part-time free of charge.

Tuition & Fees: Out of State

There is a tuition fee for non-resident students who wish to enroll at VLACS. The Virtual Learning Academy must give preference to New Hampshire students. We will place non-residents in classes if space is available. Non-residents will be charged a non-refundable registration fee of $20. Tuition is $972 for a full credit and $486 for a half credit.

 

What is a virtual online school?

Virtual schools are available through the Internet and provide students the flexibility of anytime, anywhere access to rigorous, personalized education. In the virtual classroom, every student is actively engaged directly with the instructor, thereby offering a comprehensive and thorough understanding of each course taken.

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are public schools that operate without many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. In exchange for this increased freedom, charter schools agree to greater accountability. The ‘charter’ that establishes each school is a performance contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. Charter schools are accountable to their sponsor, usually a state or local school board, to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract.

Who founded the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School?

The Exeter Region Cooperative School District (SAU 16) initiated the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School as an independent organization. The Academy has its own employees and teaching staff, Board of Trustees, and financial statement.

When was the Virtual Learning Academy established?

The charter for the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School was unanimously approved by the New Hampshire State Board of Education on May 9, 2007. The school is authorized as a charter school, public school, and 501(c)(3) non-profit. New Hampshire students attend the Academy free of charge while out-of-state students attend on a tuition basis. Both full-time and part-time students are welcome to attend VLACS.

Why does New Hampshire need a virtual online high school?

Many NH high school students cannot take advanced placement or specialized classes because their school district cannot afford the course or there is not enough student interest for a school district to justify funding a course. Since its inception, VLACS has provided students and schools options to reduce drop out rates, scheduling flexibility, expanded course offerings, and credit recovery options. An additional benefit we offer is the one-to-one communication between the instructor and student, which is vastly different from the instructor-student relationship in the traditional classroom environment. The virtual environment enables the instructor to get to know each student and challenge each student based upon his/her learning style, strengths and weaknesses.

Virtual Learning Academy Charter School is New Hampshire’s first statewide, online high school. It provides students with flexibility, choice, a personalized learning environment, and the opportunity to learn using the latest technology. Most importantly, VLACS provides every NH high school student with an equal learning opportunity.

How is VLACS funded?

The Virtual Learning Academy is funded through the New Hampshire’s Education Trust Fund, which exists solely to benefit NH’s charter schools. State law gives the NH Legislature the authority and job to fund the state’s charter schools.

Who can attend VLACS?

Any high school or middle school student who resides in New Hampshire, up to the age of 21, may apply to VLACS. VLACS will accept out-of-state high school and middle school students on a tuition basis.

Part-time students may enroll in VLACS for academic enrichment, accelerate their progress in a traditional high school program or finish uncompleted coursework. Students who intend to graduate from VLACS may apply to pursue full time studies. Students may also pursue college credit while still in high school through our dual-credit partnering programs with several colleges.

How does VLACS develop its curriculum?

We purchase most of our curriculum from the Florida Virtual School, a successful virtual school that has been operating since 1997. During the past 10 years, the FVS curriculum and coursework has been evaluated and revised to meet rigorous academic standards. In addition, FVS’ instructors, administrators, students and parents continually evaluate the curriculum and coursework.

How does a student apply to VLACS?

If you would like to apply to be a full-time VLACS student, please review the information on our full-time students admissions page. If you would like additional information you are welcome to attend one of our open house sessions or to contact our office by email (info@vlacs.org) or phone (603-778-2500).

If you would like to be a part-time VLACS student, there is no application process. You can enroll today. See our Enrollment page to learn more.

 

Who approved VLACS?

The charter for the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School was unanimously approved by the New Hampshire State Board of Education on May 9, 2007. Advanced Placement courses are audited and approved by the Collge Board on an annual basis. VLACS course courses have been approved by the NCAA.

Admissions FAQs

What do I need to do to become a full-time student with VLACS?

The admissions process at VLACS is intended to help support students as they transition to online learning full-time. Prospective students will follow the steps below as part of the admissions process:

  1. Complete the Application
  2. Attend an Information Session
  3. Participate in an Admission Plan Review Meeting
  4. Meet Admission Plan goals, which involves completion of online coursework including one or more core academic courses

The first step in the admissions process is to complete the application and Admissions Plan Supplement (included in the application). After VLACS receives your application, the office will contact you via email to schedule an online Information Session. After you attend an Information Session, you will receive a link to schedule an Admissions Plan Review Meeting. During this meeting you will discuss your course completion goals, course selection, and course requirements, as well as develop a timeline for acceptance to the full-time program. The last step in the admissions process is to meet the goals outlined in your Admissions Plan, which involves the completion of online coursework. Once you meet these goals, you will be accepted to our full-time program.

How long does it take to become a full-time student?

It typically takes students 8 -16 weeks to complete their admission plan and gain acceptance. However, the amount of time it takes for a student to be accepted to the full-time program is based on the personalized plan he/she creates with the admissions counselor during the application process and will vary with each student.

How can I check the status of my course request?

Log into your account as often as you wish, using your username and password. Once you are placed in your desired course, you will be contacted by your instructor.

Can I work at my own pace?

Students may opt to work at an accelerated, traditional or extended pace, however, regular work submission and communication is required in all VLACS courses in accordance with the student’s pace chart.

How do I select an honors course?

If you choose to meet competencies through projects, teams, experiences or a combination of these and course work, you will not have the option to earn honors or advanced designation. However, learning through projects, teams or experiences provide students with the opportunity for more authentic, student driven, and in depth learning.

Do I have to wait for school to begin to take an online class?

VLACS has on-going registration. You may enroll in at any time throughout the year.  Please check our learning catalog to see if there are waiting lists for the course, project, experience or team project that  in which you are interested.

What is the tuition rate for out-of-state students?

Tuition & Fees: NH Residents

If you’re a resident of New Hampshire, you can enroll full-time or part-time free of charge.

Tuition & Fees: Out of State

There is a tuition fee for non-resident students who wish to enroll at VLACS. The Virtual Learning Academy must give preference to New Hampshire students. We will place non-residents in classes if space is available. Non-residents will be charged a non-refundable registration fee of $20. Tuition is $972 for a full credit and $486 for a half credit.

 

What are the graduation requirements?

Art Education; 0.5 credit, ICT – Technology; 0.5 credit, English; 4.0 credits, Mathematics; 3.0 credits (1 credit of Algebra, 0.5 Geometry), Physical Science; 1.0 credit, Biological Science; 1.0 credit, US and NH History; 1.0 credit, US and NH Government; 0.5 credit, Economics; 0.5 credit, World History; 0.5 credit, Health Education; 0.5 credit, Physical Education; 1.0 credit, Advisory (credit varies), Electives; 5.0 credits, Experience, College or AP; 1.0 credit, TOTAL: 22 credits.

All VLACS full time students are required to complete community service each year.

Students FAQs

What is the tuition rate for out-of-state students?

Tuition & Fees: NH Residents

If you’re a resident of New Hampshire, you can enroll full-time or part-time free of charge.

Tuition & Fees: Out of State

There is a tuition fee for non-resident students who wish to enroll at VLACS. The Virtual Learning Academy must give preference to New Hampshire students. We will place non-residents in classes if space is available. Non-residents will be charged a non-refundable registration fee of $20. Tuition is $972 for a full credit and $486 for a half credit.

 

Can credits earned through VLACS count towards my high school graduation requirements?

Yes, a student can earn a half or full credit on every course taken. Additionally, college credit can be earned through our dual credit, college partnering programs such as eStart and the New Hampshire College System.

How do students interact and participate in discussions with other students?

VLACS supports an open source, Web-based course management system that enables students to communicate with each other. Students can upload and share materials, hold online discussions and chats, and review assignments. This invaluable experience prepares students to easily adapt to a future academic or career environment in an expanding digital world.

How does a student apply to VLACS?

If you would like to apply to be a full-time VLACS student, please review the information on our full-time students admissions page. If you would like additional information you are welcome to attend one of our open house sessions or to contact our office by email (info@vlacs.org) or phone (603-778-2500).

If you would like to be a part-time VLACS student, there is no application process. You can enroll today. See our Enrollment page to learn more.

 

When can a student register for classes?

Students may register anytime at the school’s website.

When do classes start?

Start times are flexible. During the registration process, students will be asked to select a proposed start time that meets their educational goals.

Can students who dropped out of high school earn high school credits through VLACS?

Yes, these students are encouraged to apply to the Virtual Learning Academy. The Academy is available 24-7, offers flexible scheduling to complete coursework, and provides one-to-one interaction between the student and instructor, and as such is a viable option for older high school students who wish to earn a high school diploma without returning to the traditional classroom environment.

How many classes can a student take through VLACS?

Full-time students take a full course load of seven credits per year. Part-time students can be active in no more than seven classes at one time and may not take more than seven credits between July 1st and June 30th of any year. Most of the courses are one-credit classes, however 0.5-credit classes are also offered.

What kind of courses can I take online?

VLACS offers more than 100 courses including basic middle school and high school courses. There are many subjects available that may not be offered in your school. The Academy offers Competency Recovery for a student needing to just complete a few fundamentals in a course. Additionally, there are many Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Virtual Learning Academy also offers dual-credit courses that offer high school and college credit simultaneously. A complete list of courses, along with course descriptions, can be accessed at http://catalog.vlacs.org.

How does an online course work? Do I work at my own pace?

VLACS instructors guide students through the online coursework, and students can complete the work at their own pace, however, regular work submission and communication is required in all VLACS courses in accordance with the student’s pace chart. For example, a strong math student can complete an Algebra course in 15 weeks, whereas a struggling Algebra student may take up to 38 weeks to complete the course. The virtual environment enables the instructor to get to know each student and challenge each student based upon his/her learning style, strengths and weaknesses.

How long will I have to complete a course?

The timeline for course completion will be flexible to meet the needs of students. Typically, students will complete a 1-credit course in about 38 weeks or complete a 0.5-credit course in 19 weeks. Students could opt to accelerate the pace of these courses or request additional time if they find the coursework too challenging.

I have questions about courses, who should I contact?

If you have questions about enrollment, registration, or courses, visit our web site www.vlacs.org and select the Contact Us page for an email contact. You may also contact us at (603) 778-2500 and the operator will direct you to the appropriate staff person.

Do New Hampshire students pay to attend VLACS?

High school and middle school students who reside in New Hampshire are eligible to apply and attend VLACS free of charge. VLACS accepts out-of-state students when seats are available; these students will be charged tuition for attending the school.

Parents FAQs

What is the tuition rate for out-of-state students?

Tuition & Fees: NH Residents

If you’re a resident of New Hampshire, you can enroll full-time or part-time free of charge.

Tuition & Fees: Out of State

There is a tuition fee for non-resident students who wish to enroll at VLACS. The Virtual Learning Academy must give preference to New Hampshire students. We will place non-residents in classes if space is available. Non-residents will be charged a non-refundable registration fee of $20. Tuition is $972 for a full credit and $486 for a half credit.

 

How does the instructor actively engage students in the online environment?

In the virtual classroom, every student is actively engaged with the instructor. Each student is directly accountable for every query, question or exercise. Unlike the traditional classroom where instructors communicate with several students at all different levels, at one time, virtual instructors are in constant, one-to-one communication with each student. This environment enables the instructor to become familiar with the student’s learning style and skills, and facilitate an effective, challenging learning opportunity for each student, at their own pace.

Technically, instructors communicate with students through the Academy’s open source, Web-based course management system. The system enables instructors to upload and share materials, hold online discussions and chats, give quizzes and surveys, and gather and review assignments, and post grades. The system is password protected and meets stringent privacy and security standards to protect users.

How involved can parents be? How are they informed about their child’s progress?

Parents are encouraged to become involved in their child’s academic career at VLACS. Full-time admitted students are assigned an advisor who maintains regular contact with parents about the student’s progress. The advisor’s role is to serve as a contact person for the student or parent regarding questions about courses, procedures, college placement.

In addition, students and parents receive a welcome call from the instructor of each course and then monthly communication from the instructor including regular progress reports. The instructor will return all emails and phone calls from students and/or parents within 24-48 hours.

Do New Hampshire students pay to attend VLACS?

High school and middle school students who reside in New Hampshire are eligible to apply and attend VLACS free of charge. VLACS accepts out-of-state students when seats are available; these students will be charged tuition for attending the school.

Does funding for VLACS take away from money that supports NH public schools?

No. The state’s Adequacy Education Fund and local property taxes fund New Hampshire’s public education system. The state manages and distributes monies from these income sources to public school districts.

Educators FAQs

What credentials must instructors have?

All VLACS instructors are either New Hampshire certified or are in the certification process and deemed as highly qualified according to state standards. Administrators conduct a specialized, comprehensive hiring process for all instructors to ensure they are willing to accept and enjoy the unique and demanding challenges of online teaching. Currently, VLACS employs over 125 certified instructors from five New England States.

Home Education FAQs

Are there many home educated students enrolled in VLACS courses?

Just over 15% of our students indicate that they are home educated.

I have never home educated my child. Where can I get more information about home education?

Information about home education is available on the New Hampshire Department of Education website.  You can also contact your local school district for additional resources.  Additionally, there are a number organizations dedicated to helping families who want to educate their children at home.  Many of these organizations along with additional information about home education can be found by conducting a web search.

Do I need to file a home education plan for my child?

If your child is under the age of 18 and you choose to withdraw them from your local school prior to acceptance as a full-time student at VLACS, you must submit an intent to home-school letter to your local superintendent, principal of a non-public school, or the Commissioner of Education within 5 business days of the official withdrawal from your local public school. A sample intent to home-school letter is provided below.

Date

Superintendent
SAU #
Address
Town/City, NH Zip

Dear Superintendent:

In accordance with New Hampshire RSA Chapter 193-A:5 and Administrative Rules Ed 315.04(a), this letter serves to notify you of the home education program for our child(ren).

Beginning date of home education program:

Child A
Name:
Address:
Birthdate

Child B
Name:
Address:
Birthdate:

Parent/Guardian A
Name:
Address:
Phone number:

Parent/Guardian
Name:
Address:
Phone number:

Please contact me/us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

If my child is home educated can they take classes or participate in co-curricular activities at our local school?

In most cases this is an option.  Please contact your local school or SAU office for details.  The law governing access to public school programs by non-public or home educated students can be found http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XV/193/193-1-c.htm

Can my home educated child earn a VLACS diploma without becoming a full-time student?

No.  Only full-time VLACS students may earn a VLACS diploma.  In order to become a full-time VLACS student a student must successfully complete the full-time admissions process which is outlined here.

How do I know if my child is a full-time VLACS student?

All students taking VLACS courses are considered to be part-time unless they apply and are formally accepted to our full-time program.  If you have completed the formal VLACS admissions process you and your child will be notified when acceptance to the full-time program is official.  More information about the application process is available here.

Do home education courses count toward VLACS graduation requirements?

In accordance with the New Hampshire Department of Education rules, VLACS does not grant credit for prior work/accomplishments completed by a home educated student. However, VLACS may waive credit requirements based on work completed as part of a home education program. To have credits waived a parent/guardian must supply one or more of the following:

  • A transcript from an approved school
  • Certification from a state approved and/or accredited education program
  • Certification issued by the commissioner of education, resident school district superintendent or non-public school principal pursuant to a home education program established in accordance with RSA 193A, or (for students located outside of New Hampshire) certification from a home education program recognized and/or accredited by the Department of Education, or equivalent state agency, in the student’s home state.
  • Any other documentation that VLACS believes will allow it to determine proper grade placement (such as test scores).

For more information please review the VLACS grade placement policy or visit the New Hampshire Department of Education website.

My home educated child has been accepted as a full-time VLACS student. What do I do next?

Once a student is accepted to VLACS or their home education has ended, written notice of termination should be sent to the same entity with whom you filed your home education plan within 15 business days.

How many courses can I take at once?

Home-schooled students may take up to 6 courses at one time. Students may not exceed 7 credits per year (July 1st – June 30th).

College FAQs

How do I enroll in VLACS’ early college program?

À la Carte:

First-year of associate’s degree or first year of college:

  • Complete application
  • Student will receive an email regarding admission to the early college program within ten working days in most cases

Aren’t high school students too young to complete college courses?

No. For decades, high school school students have been meeting the demands of Advanced Placement and dual credit courses. In many instances, however, these programs have been available only to top performing students or such programs have been available only to students in large or affluent school districts. We believe that any student who is motivated by the challenge of meeting high academic standards should have the opportunity to take a single college course, complete a year of college, or to earn an associate’s degree.

Will credits that I earn in this program transfer to other colleges or universities?

Many courses will transfer to other colleges, however, to be sure, students must consult with the college or university you are planning to attend after high school to get a definite answer.

Are there any additional charges beyond the $100 per course administrative fee for SNHU courses?

  • All SNHU courses have required text books Text books range in cost from $10-$85. Students will purchase these books after enrolling in the course. Course specific textbook information can be found on the SNHU Bookstore for VLACS website.
  • Students who qualify for an associate’s degree will need to submit an intent to graduate form along with a $150 graduation fee.

How long does it take to complete these courses?

The traditional pacing for these courses is 16-18 weeks. However, you may complete the courses over a longer period of time, if needed, or you may opt to complete courses on an accelerated pace.

Do I have to be a full-time student at VLACS to earn an associate’s degree?

No. If you are a full-time student at a traditional school you will need to meet with a school guidance counselor in order to determine if you can fit these courses into your schedule.

How many high school credits do I earn when I complete a college course?

If you are a VLACS full-time student, you will earn one credit. If you are a full-time student at at traditional school, please contact your guidance counselor to find out how many credits will be transferred to your transcript.

What are the costs for out-of-state students?

The tuition and fees for an SNHU course (excluding the cost of textbooks) is $606 broken down as follows:

  • Non-refundable registration fee: $30
  • Non-resident tuition: $476
  • SNHU registration fee: $100
  • Textbook fee: varies

The tuition and fees for a CCSNH course (excluding the cost of textbooks) is $656 broken down as follows:

  • Non-refundable registration fee: $30
  • Non-resident tuition: $476
  • CCSNH registration fee: $150
  • Cost of textbooks: varies

How do I take a class through eStart?

eStart is a partnership between VLACS and the Community College System of New Hampshire. Credits earned through eStart are dual credits: high school and college. Any New Hampshire junior or senior from high school, private school, alternative school or home educated can take 100% online courses taught by CCSNH instructors. Tuition is just $150 per course and the credits can be used toward a degree program at CCSNH or other post secondary institutions. Please email estart@ccsnh.edu for more information.

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