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story.lead_photo.caption Alissa Benard looks on as Juli (cq) Johnson (from right), English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Fayetteville Virtual Academy, reviews the computer access with Maddox Benard, a seventh grade student, his sisters Indie, a second grade student, and Ava, a fifth grade student at the Academy, Wednesday, August 17, 2016, at the charter school on the first day of classes for the Fayetteville Public Schools's traditional calendar schools.

FAYETTEVILLE -- High school students in Fayetteville will have more options in the next school year with the expansion of the School District's online charter school.

Fayetteville Virtual Academy opened this school year and has about 60 students in fourth through eighth grades. The academy in 2017-18 will add courses for ninth- through 12th-graders.

Fayetteville Virtual Academy

Online: fva.fayar.net

Facebook: Fayetteville Virtual Academy

Application deadline for admission for 2017-18: Feb. 27

Source: Staff report

CORRECTION

A previous version of this story misstated the applicable school year in the headline.

Virtual Academy high school students will take seven classes, but they can take them all online or combine online courses with courses offered at Fayetteville High School.

The application deadline is Feb. 27, said JoAnna Lever, school executive director. The school so far has received 104 applications. The maximum enrollment is 225 for the 2017-18 school year. Students will be chosen via lottery on March 1 if the applications received exceed the number of openings.

Students already attending the academy and their siblings are guaranteed a spot, Lever said.

The Virtual Academy also will offer 15 digital courses for Fayetteville High School students, Lever said. Fayetteville High School students will not have to apply for admission but will sign up for online courses at the same time they sign up for other classes for the next school year.

"We're excited about extending the online program to high school students," said Steven Weber, associate superintendent of the Fayetteville district. "A lot of bachelor's and master's degree programs are partially online or completely online. Some students may learn better in an online setting."

It's not just a student sitting at home with a computer, Weber said. Students can schedule live video chats with their teachers and have the ability to record sessions for review later.

The academy offers live guided study sessions twice a week in a school setting and weekly field experiences in the community, Lever said. Students complete most of their courses online, but also have options to participate in activities at Ramay and Woodland junior high schools and next school year at Fayetteville High School.

The academy advertises itself as "personalized, experienced and specialized." The school will focus more attention on the "specialized" aspect with the addition of high school courses, Lever said.

High school students will choose from among seven interest categories, and their weekly field experiences will be designed around the interest areas they choose.

An example would be offering students interested in taking care of animals a chance to interview and shadow a veterinarian, Lever said.

"The face-to-face opportunities for learning and support are critical," Lever said. "Those aren't available in a lot of virtual schools."

April Nolan and her family moved to Fayetteville about two years ago, and her children had a tough time adjusting to their new schools, she said. She learned about the Virtual Academy opening and applied for admission for her son Logan, 13.

Nolan said her son's academic performance improved in the virtual setting.

"It's easier for him to focus and stay on track when he's in a smaller setting," Nolan said. "It's been very helpful for him and for us just because of the flexibility."

The weekly field experiences are fun and give Logan an opportunity to leave the house and interact with peers, he said. On Friday, he visited the Local Color Studio Gallery for a lesson in origami.

Logan's schedule includes going to Woodland Junior High School for orchestra and a computer class, and he takes the rest of his courses are online.

"Every week my schedule is different," he said. "I can decide what I'm going to be doing."

Logan said he often focuses on math and courses that are easy for him on busier days and handles harder subjects like English on less hectic days.

Logan said he plans to continue ninth grade at the Virtual Academy and also intends to sign up for extracurricular activities at Fayetteville High School so he still gets the high school experience.

Metro on 02/11/2017

Print Headline: Fayetteville virtual school adds 4 grades for 2017-18

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