Granby " East Grand School District could offer virtual academy
Grand County, Colorado
In an effort to stay abreast of the times, East Grand School District officials are considering starting an online virtual academy.
The district has scheduled two meetings today from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the district’s office, 299 County Road 611, behind Middle Park High School.
District officials hope to gain community feedback and find out if there is a need for the program. Kathy Higgin, of K-12 Academy, will give a presentation, and information will be distributed to parents about virtual school opportunities.
The program provided by the school district includes supporting material such as computers, books, and a virtual teacher without any cost to family. It is targeted at home-schooled, gifted, challenged or students with medical issues.
In order for the program to be feasible and cost effective, the district needs 40 to 50 home-school students to enroll in the program.
It is recommended that one teacher is hired for every 50 students, so if the district receives a large response it would hire more.
“Three kids won’t pay for this teacher,” Karas said.
If enough community members show interest, the program could go into effect by next fall. This would give home-schooled students a tool to track their progress.
“(A) virtual teacher monitors that … kids are where they need to be,” she said.
Right now the district uses an online A+ Schools Program, which is only available to students enrolled in the district, and on site. The program being introduced is available off site. Karas said it is similar to the Colorado Online Virtual Academy, COVA. A few districts around the state are using it now, and more districts are beginning to investigate it, she said.
“This is the trend of the future,” she added.
By recruiting home-schooled students, the program receives funding from the state for a virtual teacher. It also provides students with a “solid curriculum,” Karas said. “It lets us service a wider range of kids.”
The program combines digital media and books with hands-on materials. It also accommodates a variety of learning styles and allows students to work online and off.
The Academy recommends that the district start by taking students in the kindergarten through 8th grade, but Karas said she will make her decision based on who shows up.
Home-school students who enroll would also take the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) test through the district, which state law requires. They would also receive newsletters from the district and have the opportunity to participate in the school’s sports and activities.
However, students could also complete the program without ever stepping on campus, Karas said.
The program offers a wife range of classes including: multi-foreign languages and every kind of art offered, Karas said.
“It opens what we can offer to our kids,” Karas said. “I don’t want to move forward until I see if there’s a need.”
If a parent is interested but cannot make the meeting call or leave a message for Karas at (970) 887-2581.
” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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