Florida Virtual School has announced plans to offer more courses that lead to industry certifications.
Between now and the start of 2015, the virtual school says it will roll out about 20 new courses that allow students to receive various technology-related industry certificates, which for the past two years have been priorities in the state Legislature.
One of this year’s major school choice bills, SB 850, includes provisions aimed at expanding career education in public schools. Among other things, it would lift the caps on bonuses for schools where students earn industry certifications. Virtual schools do not receive those bonuses based on the way their funding is calculated, but lawmakers gave them a slight funding boost intended to reflect the money they would have received from the bonuses.
Star Kraschinsky, FLVS’ external affairs director, said plans had been in the works to expand career education offerings since the first two industry-certification courses were announced earlier this year.
Going into this year’s legislative session, key lawmakers said they wanted Florida Virtual School to enroll more students in more rigorous courses – especially classes that lead to college credit or industry certifications. That has been one of the online school’s goals since its founding, with backers driven in part by a desire to make advanced courses more available to students in rural areas.
In a statement announcing the new courses, state Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, said they would allow students to pick up new technology credentials outside of the normal school day.
“Preparing for these certifications through Florida Virtual School makes it easier for students who may already have busy schedules with school, work or extracurricular activities,” he said. ” They can do it on their own time.”