A Baton Rouge-based virtual charter school will start accepting applications Friday for a first of its kind school in the state with a model that could meld students from Lafayette, Monroe, Shreveport or anywhere else in Louisiana into the same class.

Louisiana Connections Academy, an online charter school in which students statewide who enroll will take traditional school courses through home computers, web conferencing, e-mail and other tools, will open in the fall and have the capacity for about 500 kindergarten - 12th grade students, according to a report from The Advocate.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the new charter in December despite concerns from BESE board members and local school officials who say there is not enough solid information pertaining to online charter schools, also questioning the amount of public funding charter schools receive. Local school districts have long argued that charter schools take away from the per pupil funding allocated to local school districts, thus diverting progress from traditional public schools.

But Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools President Caroline Roemer Shirley tells The Advocate that the new school offers an innovative way to better education:
One of the keys to the new school formula is for students to have a “learning coach” with them daily — a mother, father, grandparent, guardian or someone else who can offer adult assistance.

That allows the teacher to contact the student’s learning coach ... to provide assistance when issues arise. Students will not be able to tune out their studies just because they are outside traditional classrooms.
Louisiana Connections Academy is offering in-person and online information sessions through May. The school is holding an information session in Lafayette on April 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express on Ambassador Caffery. If you’re interested in learning more, register for the Lafayette information session here.

Read more on the new charter school here

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