LANSING, Mich. — When the pandemic hit, school districts all over the country had to quickly adapt to find a way to educate kids outside of the classroom.
Now, one local district is taking what they’ve learned and are offering a permanent virtual school open for mid-Michigan families.
The Lansing School District is offering a completely virtual option for K through 12th-grade students this fall.
The Capital Area K-12 virtual school is a by-product of the pandemic and it's here to stay.
“There was a strong indication at the end of the school year that were a number of parents and students who really benefited from the progress they made while we were 100% virtual this year," said Principal, Carla Turner-Laws.
Families who decide to choose this option for their children will be offered the same opportunities for support and extra-curricular activities as students who come into buildings to learn.
“They would still be Lansing School District students so when they graduate they would get that diploma from Eastern, Everett, or Sexton, and more importantly they would still be eligible for the Lansing Promise Scholarship," said Lansing School board president, Gabrielle Lawrence.
According to the new virtual school’s principal, a staff dedicated to teaching these students will be in place.
But right now, it's too early to tell how many will be needed.
Fox 47 News asked principal Turner-Laws how this virtual school will differ from what the district offered over the last year.
She says this new school will borrow several pages from how students were taught over the last year.
“We’ll offer both synchronous and asynchronous instruction as we did this past school year and office hours for parents and students. So it's going to mirror very much what we’ve done," said Turner-Laws.
Christine Greenhow is an education and technology expert from Michigan State University.
She says we can expect to see more districts adopt this learning model because it gets students in line with employment trends.
“I mean we see this with workplaces. So, I think these trends that students are taking hold of in virtual learning might set them up for the workplace of tomorrow that’s more remote," said Greenhow.
Throughout the pandemic, many in the education realm have talked about a widening achievement gap.
But others say although the gap has been around for decades and giving families a choice in how their kids are educated is a positive thing.
“I think that families should still have options. They should still have the chance to find something that works for them. But as long as we’re not saying to parents you only have one choice and we’re assigning you here and there’s nothing you can do about it. As long as we’re changing that progress," said Jonathan Butcher of the Heritage Foundation.
The Capital Area K-12 virtual school is open to any student in the mid-Michigan area.
If you'd like to find out more about the enrollment process, click the link below:
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