Virtual Charter Schools

Child at computer.
Kevin Jarrett / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/igWhB9

Thousands of North Carolina students attend virtual charter schools. The program began in 2015 as a pilot project, and the flexible format is a boon for students pursuing some professional careers, like athletics. 

Tammy Thompson monitors her daughters while they do their school work through North Carolina Virtual Academy.
Jess Clark / WUNC

It looks a lot like Saturday morning at the Thompson household in Johnston County.  Three young girls are in comfy sweats at the breakfast table or kitchen island, each slouched in front of a glowing laptop. But this is 11 a.m. on a Monday. And while the Thompson girls aren’t in a classroom, they are in school.

As part of the 2013-14 state budget, the State Board of Education is required to study virtual charter schools and propose draft rules.
Ian Usher via Flickr

North Carolina’s first virtual charter schools are challenging a report that more than a quarter of their students have withdrawn.

As part of the 2013-14 state budget, the State Board of Education is required to study virtual charter schools and propose draft rules.
Ian Usher via Flickr

  UPDATED Jan. 11, 2016

Twenty percent of students who enrolled in the state's first virtual charter schools left before the end of the semester, according to a report from the state department of public instruction.

State Board of Education member Olivia Oxendine says she wants to find out why so many students are pulling out.

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in North Carolina, public school students can take all of their classes online by logging on to their computers at home.

This summer, the state opened two virtual charter schools, N.C. Connections Academy and N.C. Virtual Academy. Both schools have met their enrollment caps of 1,500 students, and families are on wait lists, according to the principals.

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday we reported that state education officials were expected to vote on whether to approve two virtual charter schools to open next fall.

The schools would serve up to 3,000 students who would take all of their classes at home and interact with students and teachers online. Supporters have argued that it would help students who don’t thrive in traditional settings – especially those dealing with health issues, athletic schedules, or bullying.

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

The state is closer to opening two virtual charter schools. A special committee on Wednesday cleared two applications of proposed charter schools that would be operated by for-profit companies.

North Carolina Virtual Academy would be managed by K12 Inc., which has had student performance problems in other states, while N.C. Connections Academy would be affiliated with Connections Education.

On Wednesday, the state committee took turns firing off questions to the two eager applicants.

There was the biggest and most obvious question: