Guiding Individual Students to Success
By: Steve Walsh
Those familiar with VHS Learning know that one of the keys to our success, and the success of our students, is that we have a dedicated staff member at each of our member schools who serves as the school's VHS Learning Site Coordinator. But what about students who do not attend a VHS Learning member school? When they sign up for our courses, who do they have to go to for all their VHS Learning needs? Well, that’s where I come in.
Site Coordinators are responsible for managing all aspects of the VHS Learning program at their school. They have many responsibilities, and chief among them is to provide front-line support to their VHS Learning students. The VHS Learning Site Coordinator’s relationship with a particular student often begins with course selection and registration and continues for the duration of the student’s course right on through until grades are reported and transcripts are provided. The path to course completion for some can be challenging at times, and the VHS Learning Site Coordinator is there to monitor progress and provide support and guidance to their students, where helpful, every step of the way.
But what about students who do not attend a VHS Learning member school? I have the sole duty of serving as the Individual Student Site Coordinator. In VHS Learning parlance, an “individual” student is a student taking one or more courses through direct enrollment through VHS Learning. These students come from a variety of locations, both in the U.S. and abroad. And, although their reasons for studying with VHS Learning are varied, most fall into one of three categories: 1) homeschool students seeking challenging, instructor-led courses; 2) temporarily displaced students that are unable to attend their school for an extended period and wish to remain on pace towards graduation; and 3) students with the initiative to take courses that their own brick-and-mortar schools do not offer.
Although there are common reasons for students to enroll with VHS Learning, each student brings with them different needs in terms of support. Some require little assistance and for others a great deal of help may be required. My relationship with an individual student often begins with assisting the student with selecting the course that is right for them (with over 300 VHS Learning courses to choose from, this can be a challenge in itself). Some courses have prerequisites, and it’s important to understand a student’s readiness to give them the best chance of success. Once the best course is identified, I work with the student to ensure they are properly enrolled and have a solid understanding of course navigation and VHS Learning’s participation expectations. I keep a watchful eye over the student throughout the duration of their course, monitoring their weekly grade reports and attendance records for signs of trouble. If a concern, such as a low current average or an unexpected extended absence is identified, then a range of interventions may be utilized. These can be as simple as a friendly email reminding the student of attendance policies or as involved as coordinating the creation of an improvement plan to assist the student in getting back on a path to success.
My support is not limited to the student either. I work in collaboration with all parties interested in the student's success. This includes parents/guardians, school personnel such as guidance counselors, other VHS Learning staff members, and - of course - the student’s VHS Learning teacher. Our goal is to ensure that all parties are working together in the best interest of the student.
The bottom line is that we believe all VHS Learning students, whether they attend a participating member school or not, are served well by a knowledgeable and dedicated educator who is available to support them throughout their journey with VHS Learning.
If you are a student or parent of a student interested in enrolling in VHS Learning courses, then I want to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at stevewalsh@VHSLearning.org.