ONLINE COURSES

Burlington School District welcomes new virtual learning options

As the first week of the Burlington School District’s V.I.B.E. virtual learning academy comes to an end, administrators are hoping the lessons they’ve learned while teaching online since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic will not only offer a better program this school year, but also help them innovate as they look to the future.  

“We were thrust into (having to do online learning) last year,” said Burlington Superintendent Pat Coen. “I think we had three or four of days to prepare. And we learned a lot, and (the district’s online program) is going to much better than it was.”  

Operating at the former James Madison Elementary building, the V.I.B.E. program now functions as the district’s virtual learning option.  

Before this school year, the district’s online courses fell to teachers who would have to juggle virtual instruction with in-person learning. 

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Now, the district’s virtual learning will be taught by instructors who teach online exclusively and will each have their own classroom to work out of at James Madison.   

Beth Shurtleff, the principal for the Burlington School District's Virtual Innovative Blended Exploration program, stands next to a dream wall in the collaboration room Aug. 12 at James Madison Education Center. V.I.B.E. focuses on bringing a personalized, online learning experience to students, while also offering optional in-person enrichment lessons and activities.

“One of our strengths is that our teachers are going to be 100% dedicated virtual teachers,” said Beth Shurtleff, the V.I.B.E. program’s first principal, who is also working on her doctorate in educational psychology and technology. 

“So they’re going to be able to focus on that and best practices and what’s working really well for the students.”   

The program allows kindergarten-12 students the chance to take 100% of their classes virtually, but also allows opportunities for individualized and blended learning plans, including: