Updated: Tuesday, 06 Apr 2010, 6:20 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 06 Apr 2010, 5:47 PM EDT
SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The newest public school in the Wabash Valley will open in the fall. But there are no classrooms, in fact, not even a desk.
The Rural Community Academy in Sullivan County is starting a virtual charter school in the fall. The virtual school will use the Internet to teach students from home. The Academy itself is a charter school, or a public school option that is free to Indiana students.
"I find the whole virtual charter school movement interesting and exciting," said RCA School Leader Susie Pierce. "Because we're going to have some opportunities to learn some things for our kids and because Indiana is ready for that."
The virtual school will be ran by Connections Academy, a company teaching about 20,000 students this year in 14 states. It will be in addition to the Academy's brick and mortar building.
The virtual school will teach up to 280 students in first through eighth grades.
Pierce said the ideal students will be children who are already home-schooled, or home-bound for an illness or other reason.
"With the one-on-one that they have with the teacher, even though it's not physically there, with the technology today, they can benefit from home schooling," said Pierce.
Pierce said Academy students and faculty will benefit from the partnership too. The RCA will give them opportunities for virtual field trips, help in subjects like foreign language, and expertise when buying new software.
But the one's who may benefit the most, may never see their building.
Enrollment is slated to begin later this month. The virtual school is part of a two year pilot program approved by the Indiana legislature. Pierce said if students are successful on state-wide testing, lawmakers could make the virtual school concept permanent.
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