CLASS IS ALMOST IN SESSION: Eau Claire Virtual School is gearing up for its fourth school year

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 5:23 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The start of a new school year for the Eau Claire Area School District will be underway in just over a week.

However, not every student learns in a physical classroom.

2022 marks the Eau Claire Virtual Schools’ fourth year.

“We started because we knew there was a need for students to have that sort of learning environment. It’s not a learning environment for everyone, but for some students, it’s a really good fit,” Eau Claire Virtual School principal Jim Schmitt said.

It serves students in grades K through 12.

“We have district teachers that serve those students in grades K through 7,” Schmitt said. “And then Pearson, our contract partner, supports all students in grades 8 through 12.”

With some time still left before school is officially in session, Schmitt says enrollment numbers are steady so far.

“Last year we had 189 students,” Schmitt said. “This year, right now, we’re just under 150. This is about where we were at last year. We tend to get an increase in enrollments right before the school year.”

Over 75 percent of the enrolled virtual students are from the Eau Claire area, but Schmitt says the learning alternative is open to any student in the Badger State.

“You need to lay your head at night in the state of Wisconsin,” Schmitt said. “If you do that, you can attend the Eau Claire Virtual School.”

Even though the Eau Claire Virtual School started before the pandemic, Superintendent Michael Johnson says more students and families resonated with having online learning as a viable option.

“We had certainly learned and our students and families had thought, boy, this is a really good option for us, and let’s continue that,” Johnson said. “That’s a positive from the pandemic, where we’ve learned that there are many different options for our students and it certainly fills a need.”

Even if you’re a virtual school student, Schmitt says you still have the opportunity to be a part of clubs and other in-person school activities.

“Students that attend the virtual school can attend the athletic programs at both of our middle and high school,” Schmitt said. “Students also have the opportunity to attend up to two classes each semester in our brick and mortar schools.”

If you’re considering enrolling your child in the Eau Claire Virtual School’s upcoming semester, Principal Schmitt says you can do so through the second Friday of September.

For more information on the Eau Claire Virtual School, click here.