Virtual school programs see enrollment increase

Virtual school programs see enrollment increase

EUFAULA, AL (WSFA) - Every child learns differently and for some, it means taking them out a brick and mortar school and trying something new.  The online school option is becoming more popular and virtual programs across the state of Alabama are seeing increased enrollment.

"Last year we ended with 2,000 students," said Kayleen Marble, Head of School for Alabama's Virtual Academy. "We're expecting another 500 to 1,000."

This is the fourth year for Alabama Virtual Academy. It's an online public school offered under the Eufaula City School System and a part of the company K12, Inc.

Over the years, the program has expanded from just kindergarten through second grade to now offering online school options for students up to twelfth grade.

Marble says the online option provides the same rigorous curriculum and testing measures of public schools, just a different environment. She adds the change in a classroom setting sometimes better suits a student's needs and more and more parents are drawn to that.

"Students who have been bullied, students with anxieties, we have students with major health issues that may have a lot of doctor appointments. This allows them to still have that structure of classes."

With the online program, students have a daily blend of live learning with an instructor through the virtual program and individual work time. They also have a support team of people with the program who provide extra assistance with learning materials and assist with accountability in staying on track with the program.

"When you combine the technology, with the effective teachers, they're all certified teachers and that partnership with the parents, you get something really powerful for students," Marble stated.

Alabama Virtual Academy has a special education program, gifted program, and dual enrollment options for high schoolers. Students across the state can enroll in the program.

Students in kindergarten through 5th grade are enrolled through the beginning of February. Students in middle and high school are only enrolled at the beginning of each semester.

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