G oE

Georgia Department of Education Educating Georgia's Future

October 26, 2020 Mr. Kevin Bruch

South Atlantic Regional Liaison

U.S. Department of Defense, State Liaison Office 1400 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301 Dear Mr. Bruch,

Georgia recognizes the sacrifices made by our military persons and their families and supports efforts to make their transitions to and from Georgia more seamless. Georgia recently received a red classification in the Virtual School Enrollment category on the 2020 Key Personnel and Readiness Issues Support Service Members and Families Scorecard. I would like to provide some information and context that should address some of the concerns that led to this classification.

The proposal for the Virtual School Enrollment category is that eligible military children could participate in virtual schools "without a residence requirement if moving to/from the school within impacted states and for the gaining school to accept credits taken through the virtual program." The Georgia Virtual School (GAV) is the state virtual school program available to all Georgia students and provides a flexible, standards-based offering in over 130 course titles. Public school students choosing to participate in the virtual school must be enrolled in a Georgia public school. However, military students are eligible to enroll in their Georgia public school prior to physically establishing residency, upon presentation of a copy of the official military orders (0. C.G.A. §20-2-1S0(e) Eligibility for Enrollment and SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.28 Student Enrollment and Withdrawal). This provision allows military students to participate in the GAV or the virtual course options offered by their local school system before physically moving to Georgia. Military students who are deployed with their families outside the state of Georgia, who wish to continue taking courses based on the Georgia Standards of Excellence, may opt to use the homeschool option in GAV. Appropriated free seats are available for homeschool students each semester.

Additionally, through the State Charter School Commission, Georgia offers two public charter virtual schools. In 2020, the General Assembly passed legislation that allows the governing board of a charter school to determine residency, at the time of application (lottery) or upon enrollment. This allows flexibility for military families to research and determine if one of the two charter virtual schools are an option for their children. Both charter virtual schools have a statewide attendance zone.

Georgia Connections provides opportunities for students in grades 4-12 and Georgia Cyber Academy

2053 Twin Towers East • 205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive • Atlanta, GA 30334 • www.gadoe.org

provides opportunities in grades K-12. Georgia Cyber Academy also has a rolling enrollment program through the first half of the fall and spring semesters.

With regard to the acceptance of credits taken through the virtual program, Georgia requires local boards of education to accept student course credit earned in an accredited school and requires local boards of education to adopt policies for validating the credit for courses taken at nonaccredited schools, home study programs, and non-traditional education centers (SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.15(2)(g) Awarding Units of Credit and Acceptance of Transfer Credit and/or Grades). Furthermore, local boards of education are required to utilize the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (O.C.G.A. §20-17-2) to award course credit for students who are dependents of military personnel (SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.15(2)(i) Awarding Units of Credit and Acceptance of Transfer Credit and/or Grades).

Based on the information provided above, it is my belief that Georgia should not have a negative classification for the Virtual School Enrollment category of the 2020 Key Personnel and Readiness Issues Supporting Service Members and Families. We would appreciate reconsideration of this classification, based on the details described in this letter. We are eager to support our military personnel and their families and we are grateful for the sacrifices that they make to secure our safety and freedom.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. Please feel free to contact me or Tiffany Taylor, our Deputy Superintendent of Policy and External Affairs (titaylor@doe.k12.ga.us), if you need any additional information or clarification of the information provided above.



State School Superintendent Georgia Department of Education