Mansoor Esfandieyar

Virtual school provides students with the opportunity to take classes outside of school.

Hannah Bensel, Designer

In the event of failing a class, there are multiple actions that a student can take. Seminole County Schools offers both Seminole County Virtual School (SCVS) and PLATO as opportunities for credit recovery.

“Summer school is for students who have already failed a course, and are planning on remediating,” said Assistant Principal Orvie Mizzell-Bullock. “It will improve your GPA, and also show colleges that students are willing to take the initiative to make up the course.”

SCVS is the longer, more rigorous path to credit recovery. One semester in virtual school is equivalent to a normal semester in regular school. Students are assigned a “pace chart” to follow, and the likelihood of getting credit recovery is all dependent on the students’ ability to keep up with the pace. Working slower and lagging behind deadlines can cause a student to finish later, whereas staying on “pace” can enable a student to finish earlier.

Another program, PLATO, specializes in helping students make up a course at a much more accelerated pace than SCVS. The duration of PLATO is seven days per semester, with school days lasting from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm. Not only do students have the option to retake a course in one week, PLATO also allows students who course early to leave the program before the seven days are up. However, not every course that is being remediated during PLATO has a teacher. Very specific courses that few kids failed must take it online but through PLATO because of the limited teachers.

Sophomore Austin Riggs has taken classes through both SCVS and PLATO, providing him with a first-hand perspective on both.

“I have taken PLATO for credit recovery and SCVS for an online class credit,” Riggs said. “Taking PLATO is a lot easier and faster to get done. I took biology with PLATO, which didn’t have a teacher, so I’d go to the media center instead of a classroom. I would sit at a computer and do my assignments.”

PLATO has the benefit of usually being taught by an actual teacher, whereas SCVS students must work with a remote teacher. Additionally, PLATO allows the students to get their credits recovered right away, rather than potentially waiting on SCVS for months. Instead of corresponding with an SCVS intermediary, PLATO teachers at SHS can immediately update a student’s transcript.

“[PLATO] has a lot more control and we allow you to finish must faster along with the teachers inputting the grades to your transcript. [SCVS may take] three or four months [to send grades] which can delay graduation. The failed classes still show up on your transcript,” said Mizzell-Bullock.

However, some organizations do not recognize PLATO because they believe that it does not properly remediate students’ understanding.The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will not accept students who have received credit recovery with PLATO  because of its fast pace and grading process. NCAA believes students should take credit recovery with SCVS because SCVS requires students to completely learn material, as opposed to simply memorizing a PLATO quiz.

Students planning on taking summer school for credit recovery should talk to their guidance counselor on which action is right for them. Whether it is Seminole County Virtual School or PLATO.