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Going to school online isn’t just for college students these days

North Little Rock’s Delaney Reprogle who now goes to an online public charter school.
North Little Rock’s Delaney Reprogle who now goes to an online public charter school.
Jaden Rice of Sherwood, who is in the second grade, attends an online charter school.
Jaden Rice of Sherwood, who is in the second grade, attends an online charter school.
Zoie Rice of Sherwood, who is in kindergarten, attends an online charter school.
Zoie Rice of Sherwood, who is in kindergarten, attends an online charter school.

Taking classes online isn’t just for college students these days. It is being done for students who are very young.

Families such as that of Jessica Rice of Sherwood whose two children attend the Arkansas Virtual Academy, which is an online public charter school. Jaden is in the second grade and Zoie is in kindergarten.

Rice said she is satisfied with her choice of having her children attend an online charter school and she said she likes Arkansas Virtual Academy, also known as ARVA.

“Our family choose virtual education after a family friend, whose children are in the Arkansas Virtual Academy, told us how much they enjoyed the program. We had home-schooled the previous year using a costly curriculum that was highly reviewed. After spending time in the curriculum we began to question if we were teaching our kids what they actually needed to know. We chose to enroll in the Arkansas Virtual Academy for the ease of use and structure it provided. We also liked the idea of a certified teacher being involved in the process.”

Rice added she believes her family has received the opportunity to educate her children in the environment that they prefer.

“Our children have gotten the opportunity to think freely in their problem solving, and also have the advantage of great teachers to help guide their problem solving when necessary,” Rice said. “The children also love to hear their teachers praises for work well done. One of the biggest things our children have gotten out of ARVA is seeing that traditional education and traditional ways of doing things may not be the only or best way to do them.”

She added that she is satisfied with ARVA.

“The most significant benefits of being enrolled in ARVA would be the structure the program provides and the ease of access to teaching professionals.Also, the Arkansas Virtual Academy provides all the teaching materials. No worries about having the necessary materials for lessons,” Rice said.

North Little Rock’s Georganna Reprogle is the grandmother and Learning Coach of ARVA third-grade student, Delaney Reprogle.

Reprogle said she has no regrets taking her granddaughter out of a traditional school environment.

“We chose to switch Delaney out of a brick-and-mortar school when we realized she wasn’t receiving adequate attention,” Reprogle said. “Even though she was enrolled in the school’s gifted program, she wasn’t getting much out of it and there was little opportunity for progression. We felt she was being held back in a regular classroom setting and didn’t feel she was getting what she needed (the support, encouragement, etc.) academically to advance and thrive. So we began looking to other options and checked out a number of private schools, homeschooling and online learning options.”

Reprogle said she eventually we chose ARVA because the family liked the idea of her granddaughter having a certified teacher who could guide her academically and review her work to make sure she was improving and progressing and doing what she needs to be doing, as opposed to just what she as a learning coach felt she needed to be doing.

“We also liked the social interaction aspect that ARVA offers,” Reprogle said.

For Delaney, it’s more of a personal benefit.

According to Reprogle, Delaney’s grandfather was very, very sick at the beginning of the year and having the flexible schedule that ARVA offers allowed her to visit her grandfather in the hospital while being able to maintain her schoolwork and knowing that she wasn’t falling behind and her grades weren’t suffering as a result.

“Also, she was getting bullied a lot in school and we found that it was really distracting her from her schoolwork. Now she feels comfortable and is not having to deal with all of the distractions that were taking a toll on her in her brick-and-mortar classroom,” Reprogle said.

ARVA opened enrollment for the 2014-15 school year on March 10 and is open for all children in grades K-8.

To help parents and children learn more about the program, ARVA will host free community events and online information sessions throughout the year.

“The students who choose ARVA are those who want to play a more active role in their educational future,” said Scott Sides, Head of School for Arkansas Virtual Academy. “While traditional schools may work well for some, we offer a more individualized approach that allows students to learn at the pace that works best for them.”

For more information on ARVA, or to enroll for the 2014/2015 school year, please visit: http://www.k12.com/arva/.

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