Anderson School District Five outlines new virtual academy; new face leads the program

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ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) Superintendent Tom Wilson of Anderson School District Five, said he’s confident their new Virtual Academy will be a success. Wilson and the new face of the academy outlined what the online school will look like in an exclusive one-on-one interview with 7 News.

Dr. Richard Rosenberger is now the Executive Director of the new Virtual Academy. Most recently, he served as the Superintendent at Anderson School District Two. He said he’s ready to lead the academy towards success.

“It’s the same goal I have everywhere I go. Is to make sure all of our students have the best opportunity for an education,” Rosenberger said.

As Rosenberger is no stranger to leadership, Superintendent Wilson said he’s fit for the job.

“And quite honestly, put it in terms of people who can understand, when Tom Brady becomes a free agent, you go after him. And when Dr. Rosenberger became a free agent, it was a great opportunity for us and I have total faith in him,” Wilson said.

Rosenberger will pilot a more than 4,000 online student population, and approximately 120 teachers will facilitate those online classrooms all week long.

“Much of the curriculum will be project based. So they’ll be working on projects. And just as in school attendance requires some help from parents, virtual program is going to require some help from our parents too,” Rosenberger said.

Top leaders said virtual students must be online at all times from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. everyday.

If you’re worried about curriculum, the district said quality is a top focus.

“It’s a learn as we go! We’re confident in our curriculum with Edmentum and Calvert, the two that we’re using for elementary and high school,” Wilson said.

Middle and high school students will use Edmentum, and elementary students will use Calvert. High School students will be able to participate in extra-curriculum activities, including sports.

“We will allow our high school students to go to our Career Center, the AIT if they choose to,” Rosenberger said.

If a students goes to the Career Center, they will have to provide their own transportation.

For elementary schools, Rosenberger said there will be up to 30 students per an online class.

“The classroom or the size they’ll be serving, I think will run around 30 students per a class, at least in elementary or it can go up to that high,” Rosenberger said.

Teachers will monitor all class sizes and will build good relationships, and those online teachers will report to the Reames Center during the day.

“We’re creating space for the teachers at the Reames Center, where they’re social-distanced a part,” Wilson said.

While this is new for everyone, Superintendent Wilson believes it will be a success.

“I do believe that we’re going to be successful. And I do believe that the virtual academy may be around forever,” Wilson said.

Rosenberger, who was once a student in Anderson Five, said he’s happy to lead the way.

“…One purpose and it’s just to make sure our students have the best opportunity. I had a great opportunity in this district as a student,” Rosenberger added.

If you still have questions and concerns about the virtual academy, visit the district’s Restart page.

Wilson said at the end of the first semester, students can apply to go back to face-to-face, if they feel comfortable.

District leaders also said Rosenberger was hired on August 3, and will officially start his role on Monday.

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