The Fulbright Program has accepted Halifax into its elite educational exchange program, Halifax County School Board members learned Monday at their monthly meeting.The organization has accepted Halifax because of its International Academy of Business and Culture as one of only four Virginia schools to participate in its international studies program, according to the Executive Director for Administration Paul Nichols. Two universities, George Washington University and Virginia Tech, have also agreed to participate in the program with Fulbright and Halifax, Nichols added.
The Fulbright program will present the Halifax’s International Academy with opportunities to expand its foreign language program, establish sister schools overseas and have exchanges, according to Nichols. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “We have a plethora of opportunities open to us.”
The Fulbright Program was founded by Congress in 1946 and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The exchange program is named for Senator J. William Fulbright who worked to increase international learning after World War II.
As part of the exchange program, three Brazilian principals will be visiting Halifax the first week of December. “They will bring their cultural opportunities to our students,” Nichols said. “They want to see our civic organizations and want to attend a sporting event.” They will also work with the Governor’s School at Halifax County High School and there will be an international banquet during their visit, Nichols said.
Nichols said he would get more information to trustees about the Fulbright Program as it became available.
Trustees also heard an update on the new Virtual Academy that will allow home-schooled students and others to take classes over the Internet.
According to Executive Director for Instruction Joe Griles, 12 parents attended an informational meeting last week at Riverstone Technology Center to learn about the K12 curriculum the Virtual Academy offers.
K12 Inc., a Glen Allen-based firm, has contracted with the school system to provide a full curriculum, learning program, and instruction using both the Internet and traditional materials, Griles told the Board. Interest from parents continues to grow, Griles said. “At this time, there are parents interested in participating in either the Virtual Academy which consists of four or more courses or participating in one or two courses with language arts and science being the most popular,” he said. Several employees have also taken a two-day training course on the K12 program, Griles said.
Currently, three students are enrolled in the Virtual Academy and three students are taking two classes each, he said. There are additional informational meetings for parents scheduled for the spring, Griles told the Board.
A policy manual revision was adopted Monday by the Board that will allow nonpublic students part-time enrollment in Halifax County public schools. With the creation of the new Virtual Academy part-time enrollment by home-schooled and private school students is necessary, Deputy Superintendent Larry Clark said. This policy change will also allow students to take classes at a county school.
Students enrolled on a part-time basis will be counted in the division’s average daily membership, Clark said, noting it will help with state funding. Part-time students are required to follow all behavioral, disciplinary, attendance and other classroom rules applicable to all students, Clark added.
The Board also received an update on the school system’s building projects.
The middle school renovation project is under way, Halifax School Superintendent Paul Stapleton said. But the project is currently 45 days behind schedule.
The two elementary school projects are proceeding as planned, Stapleton told the Board. They are still in the design phase and the plans should be ready in February with bids going out in March, he said.
Trustees also passed a resolution stating the School Board’s desire to sell a half-acre tract of land on Craddock Street in Halifax.
A public hearing has been set for December 12 at 7 p.m. before the Board’s next monthly meeting. Also, the resolution seeks the Board of Supervisors permission to sell the land and retain the proceeds.
Halifax County Middle School teacher Allyn Beth Motley was recognized at the meeting for receiving the Virginia Council of Economic Education Award.
Lastly, the Board went into executive session to address personnel and disciplinary matters.