It’s not for everyone, but it didn’t take long for Garrett Wagner to figure out it was perfect for him.
Garrett, a high school senior from Metamora, works at McDonald’s during the day to save money for college while finishing his high school work at Lapeer Virtual Learning Center (LVLC). Housed at Lapeer Community Schools’ Maple Grove Campus on Imlay City Road, LVLC became the newest educational option for students in grades 6-12 from across Lapeer and adjacent counties when it opened last fall.
LVLC offered Garrett the flexibility to work at his own pace, be his own boss and learn many of the life skills necessary for the world of work.
“The virtual learning program to this point has been a very positive for me,” said Garrett, who participated in six online classes. “This last semester was the first time I’d ever done online classes. I quickly learned how to manage my time and figured out that, if I just get my schoolwork done, I have a lot of time for other things like work and fun.”
As it turned out, Garrett’s own pace was pretty prompt. He finished his classes almost a month early with the highest grades he’s ever earned.
“The program has offered the perfect support for me,” he said. “The teachers are helpful and so is my mentor. When I have a question or need help the teachers are determined to help me.”
Garrett is on track to graduate and is hoping to carry his momentum all the way through to the next level.
“I hope to finish this second semester early as well then go to college next year,” he said.
LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie believes Garrett’s success story is one worth sharing, envisioning a future for the District that helps students write even more stories like his.
“Adapting the educational services we provide to the students we serve is at the core of the long-term strategic plan,” Wandrie said. “Providing choice for choice’s sake isn’t enough. We strive to provide quality choices for students that produce quality outcomes.”
The creation of LVLC is just one of the many ways Lapeer Community Schools is adapting its academic program to meet the demands of the 21st century marketplace.
In August, LCS unveiled its new year-round elementary school at Turrill, a K-5 program that operates on a balanced academic calendar to increase student retention. In its first year, the school is operating at capacity and has already shown significant improvements in student achievement. The District is now considering the option of offering the balanced calendar at the middle school level.
For the last several months, six community task forces have been poring over elements of the strategic plan that relate to the District’s planned consolidation of East and West high schools, the expansion of LVLC, flexible schedules at the secondary level, K-12 magnet concepts, expanding dual-enrollment and much more.
Just this month, LCS entered into an articulation agreement with the University of Michigan-Flint to offer dual-enrollment courses in the District. The pilot program would offer a 12-credit package of courses that will run throughout the school year and a year-end professional internship.
“This is an amazing value for families,” said Ron Reed, LCS Executive Director of Secondary Education. “Students will be able to pursue the goal of college credit without the barriers of transportation or space in the schedule as major factors.”
The culmination of the strategic vision Wandrie has for the District, borne of an unprecedented level of community engagement, will produce for this community a dynamic level of service to students.
“Our desire is for Lapeer Community Schools to be a destination district,” Wandrie said. “I’m certain we are on our way to achieving that very ambitious goal.”
For more information, visit LapeerSchools.org.