One of two online public charter schools that offer statewide enrollment will ask permission from the state to double the size of its virtual classrooms after 1,900 students applied for the school’s 600 spots.
According to The Monroe News Star, Louisiana Connections Academy, a state-approved online virtual charter school, has seen “overwhelming” interest from parents seeking alternative choices to traditional public schools.
Students from across the state who enroll in the Connections Academy will take traditional school courses through home computers, web conferencing, e-mail and other tools beginning in the fall. In its original charter application to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the online school asked to accept 500 students. That number was increased to 600 without amending the charter, but school officials plan to ask BESE for 600 more slots when the state’s top school board meets in August.
The state’s other virtual charter school, Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, has a 1,320-student capacity and 1,400 applicants, 80 percent of which have already been approved for enrollment:
Jeff Kwitowski, spokesman for LVCA, said the high interest in virtual education is related to the parents’ desire for choice in public education. “Virtual charter schools are a public education choice available to any student in the state regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status,” he said. “With virtual schools, your public school is not determined by where you live. We can deliver school to any student based on their academic need with a highly individualized approach to learning.”
Wood is careful to say that the virtual charter schools are not in competition with traditional brick and mortar public schools but offer another avenue for Louisiana’s students to seek an education at a high level.
“The virtual learning opportunity provides a new learning environment and new opportunities to learn at a different pace,” [Virtual Charter Academy Regional Vice President Karen Ghidotti said. “Students are not structured by the bells of a traditional brick and mortar classroom. The virtual school provides students the opportunity to spend more time in one class if needed and structure their day to fit their needs.”
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