The Albuquerque Public School (APS) system plans to implement a new virtual school.
The program aims to attract students currently attending virtual schools in other New Mexico districts. The new online classes are set to open in August 2016 for grades 6 through 11.
APS Director of Digital Learning Chris Jones says the new program will be a step in the right direction for families seeking alternatives to their local schools.
“It’s another model and option for students,” said Jones. “It will be a great fit for some and not for others. We feel the more options there are, the better.”
Jones says APS noticed more families were opting for cyber schooling, which pushed the district to offer a similar program.
“It’s a growing trend,” said Jones.” It has increased in popularity over the past five or six years. In an effort to keep our students in the district, we have decided to roll out this software for our students. We’re hoping to provide a better-quality education than the charters. Of course, the charter schools are doing a great job. We are trying to remain competitive and to keep our students in the district.”
Jones says APS is considering quality assurance measures to make sure students get the same education as if they attended a brick-and-mortar school. The district will offer optional in-person science labs, physical education, and tutoring sessions.
“For us, this is something we are committed to doing for our students,” Jones said. “It’s student-centered and -focused.”
Matt Frendewey, national communications director for the American Federation for Children, says any expansion of educational options is good for families.
“Any new educational options in the public or private sphere are positive,” Frendewey said. “The creation of a virtual public school demonstrates the importance of offering parents more options, although robust change will only come to fruition by opening up New Mexico’s education system to all forms of choice and not merely another public option. We hope the legislature will revisit the school choice effort previously passed out of the House.”
Chris Neal ([email protected]) writes from New York, New York.
Image by Todd Ludwig.
Jon Swedien, “APS Planning its own virtual school,” Albuquerque Journal: http://www.abqjournal.com/556061/news/aps-planning-its-own-virtual-school.html