National spotlight: Virtual Miami Catholic Schools

Rounding off its third academic year this past June, Virtual Miami Catholic Schools (VMCS) is picking up steam with no signs of slowing down. Marketed as the “only accredited and archdiocesan-supported virtual Catholic school in the nation,” VMCS started as a program to provide Catholic schools with enrichment and credit recovery courses.

With more than 200 students enrolled, Florida-based VMCS now accepts applications for students in grades 6-12, with an average of 15 full-time students each semester. The school boasts 12 faculty members, four staff members and one principal, who all meet the students and teach through Skype.

Homeschooled students benefit by taking courses not typically offered at home, such as advanced Catholic theology classes. Also, VMCS matches the Florida public school system and offers all of the same advanced placement courses. All homework and due dates are posted at the beginning of the semester, which lets students complete assignments weeks in advance. Additionally, homework is due every Sunday night, rather than daily, which increases the students’ flexibility.

Long term, the school hopes to partner with more schools without Catholic access, such as academic institutions in rural areas. Once VMCS has established a good presence in the United States, it hopes to expand to an international level; Argentina and Venezuela are already on board. Although different from the starched shirts and plaid skirts of traditional Catholic schools, Virtual Miami Catholic Schools provides its students with not only a strong education, but also a sense of Catholic identity.

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