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20 Years of Successful Online Learning with Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning (BAVEL)

20 Years of Successful Online Learning with Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning (BAVEL)

Mar 19, 2024, 19:57 PM by Hailey Fitch
For 20 years, BAVEL, Kentucky's first comprehensive online school, has helped students across the state reach success.
Student learning online at the dinner table with mom


The Challenge: Developing an Online Learning Environment to Drive Student and Teacher Success 

Founded in 2004 by innovative minds who envisioned giving parents and their children an education option outside the walls of a traditional school, Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning (BAVEL) is recognized by the Kentucky Department of Education as the state’s first comprehensive online school. Now, 20 years later, the online school is thriving, serving approximately 250 students each year in grades 1-12. 

But maintaining an online school is no easy feat. 

In 2011, the school’s leadership team met to discuss the successes and challenges experienced since inception and walked away with critical questions to consider, including: 

  1. Where will we find additional teachers interested in instructing online? What qualifications should they have?
  2. How do we train teachers to instruct students in an online learning environment?
  3. What’s the best way to onboard students and parents in a digital course? 
  4. How do we best support students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or 504 plans? 
  5. What should the day-to-day structure of the school be? 

For the next several months, BAVEL considered different ways to answer these critical questions to maintain and elevate its existing online program. Ultimately, they sought out help from FlexPoint Education Cloud because of the organization’s more than 20 years of experience launching, maintaining, and refining virtual schools. 

The Solution: Finding a True Partner in Online Learning

In 2011, BAVEL began utilizing the fully comprehensive online learning solution, FlexPoint Virtual School. This national school became an extension of the work BAVEL was already doing and gave them access to certified online teachers, award-winning digital courses, and easy-to-navigate systems. This ensured that BAVEL students were able to continue their high-quality learning experience while giving the school’s leadership team time to train and hire their own teaching staff in 2012. 

Now, BAVEL licenses FlexPoint courses including core, electives, world languages, Advanced Placement®, and Career and Technical Education while also utilizing a FlexPoint learning management system option, Agilix Buzz. 

“Our teachers really appreciate that the FlexPoint digital courses aren’t just ‘click-and-get,’” said Pam Carter, BAVEL School Counselor. “The courses have rigor, which gives us peace of mind knowing they are genuinely preparing students for their future. Additionally, the FlexPoint curriculum gives our teachers the time they need to build meaningful connections with their students and families.” 

In addition to the quality of the digital courses and technology platforms, BAVEL says they have continued to work with FlexPoint for the last 12 years because of FlexPoint’s dedication to a personalized partnership.

“It was important for us to work with a thought partner who had the same values and mindset as our team, and the FlexPoint team checks all those boxes,” said Scott Harper, BAVEL Director of Instruction and Technology. “They truly care about our school and ensuring that our students are successful. Our relationship with FlexPoint has greatly contributed to the growth of BAVEL, and one of our favorite aspects of the partnership is there’s always someone available to answer our questions and provide recommendations.”  

The Bottom Line: Student Success 

More than 650 students have graduated from BAVEL since 2004, many of whom needed support due to illnesses, unique abilities, and learning challenges. 

“We’re very proud of the relationships our teachers forge with their students,” said Olivia Dooley, BAVEL Principal. “From counselor corners to discussion-based assessments, and beyond, our instructional teams meet every week to ensure we’re always focused on our students and their success.” 

That focus on student success resulted in BAVEL high school students exceeding the national and state average in Junior Composite ACT scores, middle school students' reading score exceeded the state by 21%, and elementary students in fourth and fifth grade exceeded the state’s reading score by 18%.

“BAVEL has allowed us to reach students we may not have in the past,” said Carter. “From students in military families to those whose first language isn’t English, to students with IEPs and those who want to accelerate their learning, it is our goal to help them succeed and feel confident as they leave high school and head to their next phase of life.” 

To learn how FlexPoint has helped more schools and districts around the nation reach success,  visit the case studies page on