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Charter school reaching out to rural areas in Arkansas to help students learn

LISA Academy Arkansas Hybrid School is making plans to open remote learning centers outside the metro area to reach rural students.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Virtual and hybrid schooling have been vital for many families during the pandemic. 

While many districts across the state have been able to adapt, some rural areas are still struggling to offer this learning alternative. 

LISA Academy's Hybrid School in Central Arkansas is reaching kids from all over the state, but soon those resources will be even closer to home for those families in the rural areas. 

From the classroom to the cubicles, teachers like Natalie Dean are connecting with students in person and online at LISA Academy's Hybrid School.

"It's truly just an amazing opportunity for students to learn in a new manner and for me to teach in a new manner," she said.

The unique program allows kids to come to campus at least once every two weeks, according to Dean, allowing them to learn at their own speed.

"On a weekly schedule, I release an agenda, and I have all the suggested pacing, but they're actually able to take it and run with it," she said.

While most of those students are in and around Central Arkansas, Assistant Principal Krystle Hula said they're starting to reach kids miles away in rural communities. 

"We know that there's a lot of need for students to be involved in those households, and help out, so we wanted to have some flexibility for these families to allow them to have a virtual education," she said.

By setting each family up with a hot spot and a publicly funded education, it allows students to learn on their own time. 

According to Hula, plans are in the works to take it a step further next school year though by opening remote learning centers outside the metro area. 

"We're definitely looking at Jonesboro area and Fort Smith area, where we'll rent a space, and we'll be able to see students in those spaces and meet with parents," she said.

While the access continues to expand, they want to give every kid the opportunity to learn in their own way, no matter where they call home.

"We know that anyone, anywhere in the state can get a high quality education. We're there, we're committed and we found just this excellent model that we can bring the best of both worlds to everyone," Dean said.

LISA Academy is an open enrollment charter school, so they are always taking students. 

You can learn more information and apply here.