ROCHELLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Virtual schools are expanding their reach into Middle Georgia, teaming up with school systems to offer families additional online options.
Wilcox County is just one of the local systems partnering with the national online provider K12. Under the new curriculum, students will have combined enrollment at the county and online. This means families will have the option to play sports and participate in extracurricular activities at the public districts while receiving an online education at home. The learn-at-home online school will begin in the fall of 2013 and is open to students in Crisp, Dooly, Dodge, Pulaski, Telfair, Turner and Ben Hill counties.
"They will be part of the public school, but not necessarily be part of the day-to-day operations," said Wilcox County Superintendent Steve Smith.
For Katrina Reeves, it's the best of both worlds.
"My daughter really wants to play softball," Reeves said.
Her three daughters are all enrolled online. She enjoys the individualized education and now looks forward to having them play sports locally.
"If there is something easy they go through it quickly," she said, "when it's something hard, they spend a day or two on it, it's just really flexible courses."
The number of families trading in the classrooms for the computers is on the rise. The Georgia Cyber Academy is one of the largest schools in the state and has a waiting list of nearly 12,000, Smith said. With the program in Wilcox County, parents can bypass the waiting list and enroll locally. He's already received dozens of phone calls about the partnership.
"We know that virtual education is a reality," he said, "and we're hoping to offer a choice."
Smith and a K12 representative will answer more questions and concerns at a meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Wilcox County High School Cafeteria.