ARKANSAS (KFSM)-- You may have heard of a virtual school before, but you’ve never heard of one quite like this, and it’s coming to Arkansas for the upcoming school year.
Arkansas Connections Academy is a free online public school offered to students across the state in kindergarten through ninth grade.
“The only difference is that students attend school at home,” the school’s marketing manager TraKisha McNeil said. “We offer curriculum, teachers, field trips, everything that students would have in a traditional brick and mortar school.”
McNeil said students will be able to interact with their teachers and other students one-on-one through their computers using webcams and microphones.
Student’s schedules can be personalized based on their needs and interests, and the curriculum is online 24/7, so a student’s schedule can be flexible.
Arkansas Connections Academy follows Arkansas state curriculum and abides by the state’s public school attendance policy. Attendance is tracked by the student logging in and participating in class. The students must also participate in state testing.
The school also offers honors programs and prepares the students to take the ACT.
“Students who attend Arkansas Connections Academy possibly would thrive in an online environment if they may have social anxiety or if they may want to be challenged,” McNeil said.
Eleven-year-old, Alyssa Sizemore said she has trouble focusing in a classroom.
“When I was in public school I had all these kids around making noises clicking on the desk with their pencils, humming,” Alyssa said.
Alyssa currently attends a different virtual school, but her mom, Heather Sizemore said they need something different.
“There seems to be a little more communication, that one-on-one that I can get with her, and that her teacher can get with her,” Heather said. “I think there’s more opportunities for the social component of this.”
Students can join clubs and go on field trips that will allow them to socialize with other students, and Heather said Alyssa is already enrolled for the upcoming school year.
“I think I will finally get the education and the social life that I actually need,” Alyssa said.
“And deserve,” Heather added.
Enrollment began in March for grades K-9, but the school will add a new grade every year until they reach twelfth grade.
Enrollment will stay open throughout the school year. Classes start August 9th and go through June.