Area school districts working together to create Coulee Region Virtual Academy

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT
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The Eau Claire Area School District released a survey this week to hear families thoughts on the upcoming school year.

Four school districts in La Crosse County created their own survey as well.

Its found that a majority of families are ready to send students back face-to-face this fall.

“At the same time, we know that there is a smaller percentage of families who are not ready to send their kids yet,” said Fayme Evenson, the School District of Onalaska director of instructional services.

The School Districts of Holmen, Onalaska, West Salem and La Crosse decided to work together to propose a new online option-- the Coulee Region Virtual Academy.

“The relationship is fantastic. We have partnered in the past on many projects, but by far this is the most ambitious,” said Dr. Michael Lichucki, School District of La Crosse director of curriculum.

The academy is not a replacement in programming, but an addition to options already being provided.

The districts say they want to honor as many enrollments as possible.

While the survey was only released a few days ago, both the Onalaska and La Crosse school districts are already reporting an interest in the virtual option.

“In Onalaska, we have 866 respondents so far and we have about 7 percent of those who are looking to opt-in to the completely virtual option at this point,” Evenson explained.

“So far with initial results, we have approximately 10 percent of our families very interested in this option and about 20 percent that are seeking more information,” Lichucki added.

Around 600 students in La Crosse are highly interested.

Planning is still underway, but leaders of the project say its likely some elementary teachers would solely focus on the virtual academy, while middle and high school teachers might be responsible for in-person and virtual classes.

There is no additional cost for the online option.

“They would still receive services and have access to all of our other programs that we offer as well as co-curriculars and extra curriculars,” Evenson said. ”They are a normal student, they’re just opting into a virtual program within our district.”

Additional meetings with school boards and stakeholders will take place before enrollment hopefully starts at the end of July.

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