Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES plans to launch the Torch Academy, a new virtual school, for students who have found that learning online works best for them.
COVID-19 forced local students to learn remotely. For many, it was clear that they learned better in the classroom, but for some, they found they truly thrived with the flexibility and self-guided nature of remote learning.
“It will be difficult for each of our component districts to individually continue to offer remote learning to their students, so FEH BOCES was happy to step in and help with a solution,” said FEH BOCES Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lori Tourville. “We at FEH BOCES are always looking for new ways to meet the needs of students and our component districts.”
The Torch Academy will serve grades kindergarten through 12 in the 10 school districts within the FEH BOCES region: Brushton-Moira, Chateaugay, Lake Placid, Long Lake, Malone, Raquette Lake, St. Regis Falls, Salmon River, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.
Students can take a full year of virtual courses, or just add one remote course while also learning in person at school. School officials hope it will benefit both extra-motivated students who want to accelerate their learning as well as students who have fallen behind and need to catch up.
The virtual academy will get a soft open this summer and will fully launch in the fall.
FEH BOCES is partnering with Edgenuity, a virtual classroom platform, to offer hundreds of course options through the academy, giving children in the region access to many more options than could be taught in local schools. In addition to multiple layers of support from Edgenuity teachers and coaches, an on-site facilitator at FEH BOCES schools will monitor progress for each remote student.
The Torch Academy facilitator will work out of new Learning Labs at the two schools run by FEH BOCES, Adirondack Educational Center in Saranac Lake and North Franklin Educational Center in Malone. The Learning Labs will be a multi-purpose space for any remote student to get some extra help, access Wi-Fi or supplies, or have a quiet space to work.
This effort is supported in part by Adirondack Foundation’s Generous Acts Program.
"We applaud BOCES for turning recent challenges into new opportunities and look forward to seeing how this initiative will help students flourish," said Cali Brooks, Adirondack Foundation President and CEO.
The Generous Acts funding will help reduce the cost per class for the program, making it more accessible to more students.
Families interested in learning through the Torch Academy should reach out to the guidance office in their home school district. For more information about the Torch Academy, go to https://www.fehb.org/o/frankli...