Popularity of online charter schools increasing across Arkansas

Popularity of online charter schools increasing across Arkansas

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- When it comes to K-12 education, Arkansas families have some options, but one in particular is becoming a fast favorite for students, parents, and teachers.

Imagine if your child's school was just a mouse click away.  It's a concept that’s growing across the state of Arkansas.

"I was looking for an alternative to challenge my son," said Kathryn Roset.             

Roset found that through the Arkansas Virtual Academy.

"He learned everything, he would just soak it up," she said.

The online charter school serves grades K-12. On Wednesday, the state charter school board approved an enrollment increase for the virtual academy. Which will allow them to take a thousand more students over the course of the next few years.

"The interest exceeds the number of seats available in high school," said Scott Sides, head of Arkansas Virtual Academy.

He said the school will graduate its first senior class this Saturday. Sides expects next year's graduating class to be even larger. All of the student's coursework is done in a virtual classroom setting.

"A student who enrolls will receive about 100 pounds of materials that their parents would help them in organizing.  They receive everything they need to learn throughout the school year," Sides said.

Kathryn Roset said she hasn't looked back since making the choice to change her son from traditional school to online classes. The curriculum is rigorous but students can learn on their schedule.

"There's a lot of guidance and assistance.  There's a lot of structure to the Virtual Academy," she said.

"Since the virtual academy began as a charter school in 2007 their enrollment has risen from 500 to nearly 2,000," Sides said.

The Virtual Academy is a charter school. That means all course material and classes are free. Charter schools are funded through tax dollars.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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