Ripon Virtual School

Progress & Updates- October 1st, 2018

Welcome Message

Happy October!

Welcome to the first edition of the Ripon Virtual School Parent Newsletter. This is an exciting year as we prepare to open our new school to student for the 2019-20 school year.

During the next year, the formal shape of RVS will be developed, but rest assured the concept for this school is well situated in the model and mission of the Bridges Virtual School out of Merrill, Wisconsin. Over the course of the past year, parents from our district, who were open enrolled in Bridges suggested the Ripon Area School District open a similar school. The need for this school was apparent given Bridges extensive waiting list.

Following multiple conversations with Bridges staff, RASD submitted a proposal for $900,000 in financial assistance over the next five years to the Department of Public Instruction. Fast forward one year and here we are with a .25 planning coordinator hired and a team of dedicated staff ready to make this dream a reality for our parents and other parents across the state.

Please join us as RVS develops a name, logo, and website; accepts students through the open enrollment window; and finally opens in September 2019.

This newsletter will be your connection to this exciting year of work. Please feel free to share this link with anyone else interested in pursuing this exceptional opportunity for their children.

Welcome aboard,

Dr. Mary Whitrock

Our Mission & Program Description

The mission of the Ripon Virtual School is to empower learners through a customized and flexible pathway that fosters forward thinking.

The Ripon Virtual School:

(a) increases access to disadvantaged students by providing equal access to technology resources

(b) reduces and eliminates the achievement gap by providing an alternative option for students who struggle in the traditional school setting. The virtual format personalizes content and instruction and provides additional options for students to pursue vocational training and certificates;

(c) serves students at-risk of dropping-out or who have previously dropped out by offering a flexible location and convenient schedule for students experiencing barriers to succeeding in a traditional school environment.

(d) increases the overall graduation rate by providing additional options for students for whom the traditional school setting poses barriers to completing their high school diploma (e.g., students with high social anxiety, mental health issues, behavior and attendance challenges, etc.); and,

(e) increases career and college readiness by increasing access to vocational coursework, certificates, and the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) or Start College Now (SCN) option.

Grant Award-- Planning Year #1-- Opening Fall 2019

On June 28, 2018, Ripon Area School District received approval notification from State Superintendent Tony Evers for the district’s virtual charter grant application in the amount of $900,000. DPI noted, “In a highly competitive round of grant applications, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction approved 26 awards totaling more than $17 million to plan, open, or expand charter schools in the state.The department received 45 grant applications requesting $29.6 million, about $12 million more than was available for the first year of charter subgrant funding.”

Funding during this planning year will be used to cover the cost of various purchased services including professional development for RVS staff and Governing Board members. Ripon Curriculum Director Chrissy Damm shared, “We are honored to have been selected and have already begun planning for Ripon’s newest charter school. During the planning year, the grant will fund a 0.25 FTE Planning Coordinator to guide our efforts and ensure we are on track to achieve preparation milestones.”

WRCCS (Wisconsin Resources Center for Charter Schools) Conference in Weston and Bridges Site Visit

Last week five individuals traveled with Superintendent Dr. Mary Whitrock to Weston WI for a 1.5 day required DPI training related to Ripon’s charter school grant. Individuals in attendance included: RVS Planning Coordinator Rebecca Miller, Crossroads Alternative High School Program Lead Teacher and Dean of Students Lisa Burdick, Director of Innovation and Technology Mandy Froehlich, District Library Media Specialist Renee Rezel, and RVS Governance Council Member Mariel Brown. The training provided information about the grant requirements and strategies for successfully opening and running a charter school. On the other .5 day, the team traveled to Bridges Virtual School in Merrill to meet with staff and review critical elements to the success of their program. The team found out BVS currently has 720 students with 300 students on the waiting list. Clearly, there is interest in the open enrollment market for our virtual school. The team is very appreciative for the continued support of the Bridges staff.

Governance Council Meeting

Our next Governance Council Meeting is:

When: Thursday, October 4th at 1:00

Location: Ripon School District Office

1120 Metomen St.

Ripon, WI 54971

Join us if you can. We welcome parents, community members and anyone who may be interested in learning more about Ripon Virtual School.

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