North Carolina Virtual Academy Approved as State’s First


Online public charter school North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA) has been approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education, and the school can begin enrolling students for the next school year.

The charter school is open to all students across the state in kindergarten through tenth grade.  The school has plans to open their program to include high school grades in later years.

Currently 1,500 students from across the state will be allowed to enroll in the virtual school, which will send millions in tax dollars to schools run by private education companies.

The school will offer students a selection of core and elective courses, assessments and instruction from state-certified teachers.  Each student will have an individualized learning plan with specific goals in order to help each student develop and meet their needs.  Students will receive consistent interaction from teachers through instruction, intervention, assessment, guidance and support.  All state requirements and accountability standards will be followed in order to maintain its public school standing.

Curriculum, technology and academic programs from K12 inc. will be used by the school.  K12, Inc. is an education provider for online and blended schools already serving thousands of schools across the country.

North Carolina Learns, Inc. will govern the school.  The independent nonprofit charter school board consists of parents, educators and community leaders from across the state.  The board will set school policy in addition to oversee all operations of the school.

“We are very excited that North Carolina Virtual Academy is now a public school of choice for families across our state,” said Chris Withrow, chair of the NC Learns Board and chief technology officer for a leading public school district. “NCVA will be a school offering innovative technology with a dedicated and professional team of teachers and educators committed to helping students learn. We thank the State Board for their review and recommendations throughout this process, and look forward to working with them to make NCVA a success.”

A law was passed in the state last year, signed by Governor Pat McCrory, that required two K-12 virtual charter school pilot programs to open in the state by the fall of 2015.  NC Learns was one of two organizations to apply for the pilots.

There has been an increase of charter schools in the state since lawmakers lifted a 100-school cap in 2011.  Currently, there are 147 tuition-free charter schools in operation across the state.  However, until now the state did not have any full-time virtual charter schools.  North Carolina does operate the North Carolina Virtual Public School, which provides individual classes for children across the state, writes Sarah Ovaska for NC Policy Watch.

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