By Kathy Chouteau
The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) is preparing to open a K-12 Virtual Academy during the 2021-2022 school year. It will be the district’s 54th school.
During the Jan. 13 Board of Education Zoom meeting, the district laid out its plans to open a brand-new school in time for the next academic year. At a time when many WCCUSD families are hesitant about someday sending their children back to in-person instruction, the new school will provide a permanent online option. Board members offered their unanimous support of the agenda item, provided some directional input and ultimately gave the green light for the district to move forward on determining the school’s roadmap.
“I am stoked. Your school board just directed staff to open a new K-12 virtual school for the 2021-22 school year! If you don’t want to send your student back to school until COVID-19 is over, you don’t have to,” said WCCUSD Board of Education Trustee Mister Phillips on Facebook following the board’s meeting.
As part of the district’s vision for the Virtual Academy, instruction would include a “combination of live synchronous instruction along with guided asynchronous assignments,” with “A-G courses as well as access to CTE/AP courses where possible over time,” per meeting agenda documents. Based upon enrollment, administration and office staff would be assigned and teaching staff could apply for full-time roles at the school. The school would also have a physical location for the distribution of in-person materials and conferencing, although possible locations are still being discussed.
Enrollment at the Virtual Academy will be open to all current WCCUSD Kindergarten through 12th grade students, as well as transfer students. On Facebook, Phillips emphasized to currently enrolled WCCUSD families that “this is a new school. This is not an extension of distance learning. If families want to attend this school, they have to enroll in this school,” indicating that they would need to leave their old school to attend the virtual one.
“We’ve heard from families and this is what they want,” WCCUSD Communications Director Bobby Jordan told The Standard about the school.
Following the board meeting, the district isn’t wasting time moving forward on its plans. According to Jordan, they’re hoping to launch enrollment for the Virtual Academy in February.
Although at this writing the agenda hasn’t been set for the Jan. 27 Board of Education meeting, Jordan expects discussion about the Virtual Academy to continue at that time. In the meantime, the district is “moving forward on what the school will look like” in terms of curriculum and other key details, he said.
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