Virtual Academy Coordinator Wins Two Awards
Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz honored Dr. Hope Sloan, Coordinator of the Douglas County Virtual Academy, at the December 5 Douglas County Board of Education meeting for winning two prestigious awards.
In October Dr. Sloan was named the 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Association for Alternative Education (GAAE). The organization recognizes one teacher in the state each year for his or her dedication to non-traditional education.
In November Dr. Sloan won the Odyssey “Destiny” Award for Educator of the Year 2015-2016 at the annual Atlanta Metro Area Community Awards Banquet. The award is sponsored by Odyssey Productions Inc, a non-profit organization based in Marietta.
Dr. Pritz stated, “We are proud that Dr. Sloan was twice recognized as the ‘best of the best’ in Georgia for her commitment to educating students in a non-traditional setting.”
Dr. Sloan worked with Dr. Donita Cullen to open the Douglas County Virtual Academy in November of 2012. The Academy serves 40-45 students at a time. Students at the Virtual Academy are provided with a flexible schedule, an accelerated pace, college and career readiness, and limited distractions. They are often teen parents, employed full time, seeking early graduation, homeless, or in quest of credit recovery. The mission of the Virtual Academy is to help young people stay in school, successfully learn, and graduate prepared for life.
Students apply for the Virtual Academy through their base high school and are accepted according to a list of criteria established by Dr. Sloan and the school counselors. Students in the Virtual Academy typically need 10 or fewer credits in order to graduate. They complete rigorous coursework off campus in a non-traditional environment. Students come on campus for assessments and college and career readiness sessions. Sessions include topics such as interview skills, verbal and written communication, ACT/SAT preparation, and career exploration. The Virtual Academy is housed in the same building with the Douglas County Performance Learning Center.
Dr. Sloan received her undergraduate degree from Winston Salem State University. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Administrative Supervision from the University of Phoenix, and an education specialist’s degree and a doctoral degree from Capella University. She taught math in grades 7-12 in a traditional classroom setting and was an instructional coach prior to moving to the Douglas County Virtual Academy.
“After 10 years in a traditional classroom, I became a member of the alternative education family and I have been in love ever since,” said Dr. Sloan. “I believe teaching in the alternative education setting takes patience, structure, flexibility, and determination. Teachers in this environment should have a true passion for the students.”
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