St. Cloud School Board approves new virtual academy online school

The St. Cloud Area School Board approved at its meeting Wednesday the first steps towards creating a new online school.

Ryan Cox, the director of innovation and instructional technology for the school district, told the board that the Central Minnesota Virtual Academy (or CMVA) will provide “learning opportunities for all of the learners in our district.” It will also provide flexibility for “our students and for our teachers.”

Cox said not all courses are equally available in all schools, so with the CMVA, the access will bridge that gap. He also said that some students, for whatever reason, may have difficulty being in school so the instant access would be beneficial for them.

Other benefits that Cox mentioned included online videos for support, independence for students, that it encourages responsibility and devotes more time to learning.

The Minnesota Department of Education approved the online academy for the 2023-2024 school year. There will be fully-online programming for grades 6-8. In addition to fully-online programming, there will be supplemental programing for grades 9-12. Cox said that 40% of next year’s high school students expressed an interest in the CMVA with nearly 28% for the supplemental aspect and nearly 13% for attending all classes online.

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