Spring ISD could offer a full-time Virtual Academy for students in grades 3-12 during the 2021-22 school year if state funding allows and enough parents indicate they would be interested in having their students take part.
“We know that online learning has really been a great fit for some families, so we’re looking at offering a virtual academy for students who really thrive in this learning environment,” said Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson. “This new program would build upon our experience over the past year, giving students a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction with the opportunity to stay connected with their zoned campus through virtual clubs and in-person extracurricular activities.”
Like many school districts across the state, Spring ISD is planning for a virtual program while awaiting to see if Texas lawmakers adopt legislation that would fund an online academy. The district is also planning to survey parents to gauge interest. Although the new program would be similar to the remote learning option that many families used this school year, it would require a year-long commitment.
“It’s made sense this year to allow families the flexibility to transition back and forth between in-person and remote,” Watson said, “but for next year, we’re going to be asking that families agree to online learning for the entire school year.”
In addition, the district will be asking families to apply for the virtual program in recognition that the online learning option is the best fit for students who are able to thrive in an environment that requires self-discipline and good time management. Younger students would also need the availability of an adult at home.
“We are still working out the logistics of our application process, but we view our Virtual Academy as another choice for families who are looking for a unique experience that best fits the needs of their student,” said Chief of Innovation and Equity Dr. Lupita Hinojosa.
In the coming days, the district plans to send out a survey to all families to determine interest. Spots in the Virtual Academy will be limited to about 400 from grades 3 through 12.
“Once we’ve confirmed the availability of state funding, we’ll then contact those interested families with details on the application process,” Hinojosa said. “We’re excited about the possibility of being able to extend this opportunity to our students and families.”