BARRON (WEAU) -- Imagine the opportunities kindergarten through 12th grade students would have with more than 600 course options. Well that's a reality for kids who are enrolled in Barron’s brand new virtual charter school called Advanced Learning Academy of Wisconsin.
The benefits of a virtual education become clear, pretty quickly. Take for example junior Jack Slagel, who has a demanding schedule as he works toward his dream of becoming a professional motocross racer; while also taking two hyper intensive eight week classes throughout the school year.
“I can say I definitely can get it done a lot quicker, if spend three to four hours on it, I can get everything done for a week,” Slagel says.
Superintendent of Barron schools Monti Hallberg says really what the virtual school offers students and parents are options and flexibility.
“There is also flexibility in terms of the rate you progress, we have a couple of students who are currently in different grade levels for different classes, so you really can go at your own pace within each subject area,” the school’s virtual program coordinator Jennifer Quinlan explains.
After homeschooling her son Mathiew for years, this year Quinlan enrolled him in the virtual school, and it seems everyone is happier.
“When I was being homeschooled by my mom it wasn't as challenging and there wasn't as much flexibility as there is now,” 9-year-old Mathiew tells us.
But, while it's worked for Mathieu and many others the district says it does take a considerable amount of self discipline and motivation.
“It really requires a lot of dedication, it's quite rigorous. Sometimes kids go in with the thought that I can breeze through this, but then the course work starts and they realize it's a lot more work than a traditional classroom,” Quinlan explains.
There are several different models of virtual schooling that students can choose from. Those options include no time at the public school, or just taking a few classes like band or art, or taking the majority of your classes at the school and just one or 2 online.