School District 51 in line to put classes online

School District 51 plans to add an online school to its academic offerings this year.

The District 51 Board of Education will decide Tuesday whether to approve the creation of Grand River Virtual Academy, which will offer online classes for ninth- through 12th-graders this fall. The academy will launch as a pilot program and offer classes to high-school-age students through a software program called K12.

The school district offers some online classes already, but those are used for credit recovery after a student fails a class, according to District 51 Director of Academic Options Ron Roybal. Roybal said he wants to have a school that allows students to take all of their classes online to “move with the times” and hopefully get some students who dropped out of school to come back.

“We want a pilot for students that don’t have a school to go to. They might have a job and can’t attend school” during regular hours, he said.

District 51 Superintendent Steve Schultz said during a school board meeting earlier this month that online schools are becoming more popular, and that the district hopes to give students what they want while keeping them in the district system.

“Our students most interested in online learning will find it whether we offer it or not,” Schultz said.

Students will have a primary teacher for K12 classes, plus a teacher they can call or visit at R-5 High School, according to Roybal. The academy will offer a variety of elective courses, including personal finance, game design and numerous foreign languages, plus courses that adhere to District 51 graduation standards.

Every graduate of the academy will earn a District 51 diploma. Attending the school is free.


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