We have seen some confusion with the differences and similarities between us (NCVPS/NCVirtual), district and school virtual academies, virtual charter schools, remote learning, and student schedules in PowerSchool. Let us give you some details on who is who and what is what.
NCVirtual is the state-led virtual school. We are a division of the state agency, the Department of Public Instruction. We do not grant high school degrees. Students can’t graduate with an NCVPS diploma. Rather, we partner with schools throughout the state to provide courses. Students enroll with us through their local public schools. They remain members of that local school, even if they take all of their classes with us, and they will graduate from that local school.
Schools across North Carolina enroll students with us for a variety of reasons:
- Expand their course offerings. (We offer over 150 courses that are all taught by certified North Carolina teachers.)
- Resolve scheduling conflicts.
- Provide virtual options for students with health issues that prevent them from attending classes in-person.
- Provide whole-class online instruction when schools lose a teacher.
Course Access – Students access their NCVirtual courses through this link:
Notice that “ncvps” is in the link above.
Many school districts now feature a virtual academy or virtual high school. These academies are part of the school district. They are operated by the district. The virtual academy provides the courses and teachers. Here are just a few of the district-led virtual academies:
- Person County Schools Virtual Academy
- Orange County Schools Online Academy
- Buncombe County Schools Virtual Academy
- Ignite Online Academy
- Cumberland’s Academy
- Wake’s Virtual Academy
- CMS Virtual High School
- Pamlico Virtual Academy
- Pitt County Virtual Academy
Remember, we are the state-led virtual school. Districts lead their own virtual academies. However, many virtual academies still enroll students with us. Some virtual academies enroll all their students with us, but the academy structure gives the districts a way to manage and better support their online students.
Course Access – Students will have a different weblink to log in to their virtual academy courses. The link may look very similar to ours. Most districts use Instructure’s Canvas as the online platform for instruction. Remember, our login will have “ncvps” in the link.
Important Note: Students who attend virtual academies will have separate logins for courses taught by their virtual academies and courses taught by NCVirtual.
Remote Learning may look like what we do, but it is very different. We saw remote learning when schools closed during the pandemic. This is when teachers and students leave the building and meet online to continue teaching and learning. Transitioning to remote learning usually happens quickly and without much planning. Teachers don’t get much preparation and the courses have very little content in them. Nevertheless, it’s what schools do during an emergency.
Virtual Charter Schools
Virtual charter schools are like regular charter schools, except all of their courses are taught online. Virtual charter schools offer high school diplomas, and students can graduate from them.
There are two virtual charter schools in North Carolina:
NCVirtual is not connected to PowerSchool. Schools must use the NCVPS registration system to enroll students in our courses. A student’s schedule in PowerSchool may indicate they are enrolled in classes with NCVPS, but that enrollment is not complete until school enrolls the student through our registration system. If a PowerSchool schedule indicates a student is enrolled with us, but the student can’t log in, check with the school to make sure they’ve been properly enrolled with us.
Home School and Private Schools
Home school and private school parents can enroll their students directly into NCVirtual courses through our Virtual Advantage program. However, parents or the private school must pay for the enrollments. There is no cost for public school parents.
North Carolina has a lot of options for students and parents! We hope this basic overview helps you understand the differences.
One last note! You can get parent updates and other news delivered right to your phone with the NCVirtual App! Download it from your app store for free today!