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FAYETTEVILLE -- A proposal would add freshmen through seniors to Fayetteville Virtual Academy for next school year, instead of just the freshmen and sophomores.

"If we know this is great for some kids, if this is an incredible option, why do we want to wait?" said Kim Garrett, Fayetteville School District's associate superintendent for administrative services, in a presentation Thursday to the School Board.

Fayetteville Virtual Academy

• fva.fayar.net

• Online charter school run by Fayetteville School District

• Opened August 2016 for fourth- through eighth-graders

• Students complete courses through an online learning system, but also have options for field trips and face-to-face lessons

Source: Staff report

Garrett will ask for board approval of the plan at its Nov. 17 meeting, she said. If the plan is approved, district officials then will request to state Charter Authorizing Panel at its Dec. 14-15 meeting to amend the charter for Fayetteville Virtual Academy.

Fayetteville Virtual Academy opened this school year under a conversion charter approved last school year that allowed for a first-year maximum enrollment of 100 fourth- through eighth-graders.

The academy's charter allows for the addition of the freshmen and sophomores for the 2017-18 school year and a maximum enrollment of 225 students. Junior and seniors would follow in the 2018-19 school year with the maximum enrollment increasing to 350 students. The academy would grow to up to 500 students with addition of kindergarten through third grade in the 2019-20 school year.

The proposal is to amend the charter to allow for the addition of freshmen through seniors in 2017-18, still with a maximum enrollment of 225 students, Garrett said.

The change would allow for an expanded variety of courses and for a sophomore who advances through coursework at an accelerated pace to begin junor-level work midway through the school year, Garrett said.

"We know that many high school kids, maybe all high school kids, need options other than the traditional pathway," said Superintendent Matthew Wendt. "I think we have kids at our high school who are in need of this."

The district has limited options for students who are expelled, said Susan Heil, board member. She told Garrett she would like to explore alternative places for those students to go.

Megan Hurley, who joined the board for the first time after her election in September, asked about the support students in the virtual school receive in preparing for life after high school beyond academics.

Garrett said the district's Agee Lierly Life Preparation Services has a night program as one alternative to expulsion, and the charter mentions the Fayetteville Virtual Academy as being another option. Field trips and experiences offered through Fayetteville Virtual Academy support students in preparing students for their next step after graduation, she said.

Correction

A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Agee Lierly Life Preparation Services. The error has been corrected.

The academy has an enrollment of about 50 children.

The virtual format is meeting the needs of some students whose needs were not being met in the traditional school setting, said JoAnna Lever, school director. Some challenges students face are the same as in a traditional school, including completing work on time. Some students have chosen to work on one subject per day to be successful.

"Our students are engaging in authentic learning every week," Lever said. "We will continue working with our district and our board to improve student learning."

NW News on 10/28/2016

Print Headline: Virtual school pursues addition of high school grades

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