A statewide, online correspondence program that’s partnered with the Wrangell School District has been building its enrollment over the past couple of years. Alaska Virtual Academy says it has nearly a hundred students, mostly from the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas. The Academy describes itself as a tuition-free, online, public school.
The school is paid for with public money, but it is owned and operated by a nationwide, for-profit company called K-12, which provides the curriculum, teachers, administration and other resources. K-12 says it has enrolled about 100 thousand students in similar programs in 34 states. Through Wrangell schools, the virtual academy receives 97 percent of the Alaska, per-pupil funding that would otherwise go to the brick-and-mortar schools in the student’s home district. The other three percent of that state money goes to the Wrangell district for administrative costs according to Wrangell Superintendent Rich Rhodes, who says there are two Wrangell students enrolled in the program. Rhodes sees it as providing another home school option for the community.
Alaska Virtual Academy will be holding a meeting in Petersburg tonight for interested parents and students. Matt Lichtenstein spoke by phone with the academy’s Head of School John Gutman in Wrangell:
That’s John Gutman, Head of School for Alaska Virtual Academy, an online learn-at-home program that’s partnered with the Wrangell School District. Gutman will be giving a public presentation tonight at 7 in the library conference room.