Originally aired on Cleveland 19 News – July 28, 2020
Established virtual schools are seeing a surge in enrollment as parents weigh their options for the fall.
“It’s challenging for everybody. I feel for those parents. It’s a tough situation to be in and you’re just trying to do what’s best for your students academically and socially,” said Kyle Wilkinson, who handles academic compliance with Ohio Virtual Academy.
He says they’ve already seen a 20% jump in inquiries and enrollment from last year, and it’s trending upwards.
OHVA is seeing an even higher uptick of enrollment among younger students.
Kindergarten through second grade enrollment is up about 50% from last year at Ohio Connections Academy.
“We’re looking to hire six to eight more teachers, maybe more. Our kindergarten is filled up. We hire people, it fills up again. We hire another teacher,” said OCA Superintendent, Marie Hanna.
Hanna said parents of younger children have concerns about a consistent environment and consistency in learning.
“We have a learning management system that we’ve been working with for many years,” she said.
Wilkinson says OHVA, which has been around for 19 years, has provided curriculum specifically designed for online learning from the jump.
“While many districts have had to pick up from where they’ve done their traditional brick and mortar and move it to online, we’ve been doing it online the entire time,” he said.
Ohio Virtual Academy also has a credit recovery program for those students who are at risk or fell a little behind, but parents have to be willing to be involved in their child’s education.
“It’s not a place where you can drop off a student and be hands off,” Wilkinson said.
Flexibility is also something virtual academies boast.
“Every grade level has that flexibility built-in where every session is recorded. So, if a family has a conflict or something where they can’t attend live, they can always go back and view a recording. Our teachers are available and work with families that are on multiple different schedules,” he said.
These online schools have to hire to meet their increased enrollment, so they are interviewing daily to accommodate their increased student population.
To learn more about Ohio Virtual Academy visit: https://ohva.k12.com/