The LISD Virtual Learning Academy program would create a four-year virtual school that could begin in the 2021-22 school year with up to 300 ninth and tenth-grade students. The program would expand each year with its first senior class in the 2023-24 school year. If approved, a lottery system would select students in April.
The virtual high school would expand the existing, virtual New Hope High School offerings in combination with the temporary virtual learning program used during the pandemic. Based on Texas Education Agency requirements, the students would transfer from their assigned high school to the online academy.
The curriculum would be designed by LISD teachers for district students, said Matt Bentz, the district’s chief academic officer. With about 300 students, there would be 12 full-time teachers with no additional staff requested.
The district's next steps are to send a student interest survey and provide a parent information night. Chrysta Carlin, LISD’s assistant superintendent for pathways and innovation, said the district will make sure the virtual academy is the right fit for its students since some may succeed more in a collaborative environment.
“We don’t want anyone to be unsuccessful,” Carlin said. “We want to make sure it’s the right fit for every student.”
The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Feb. 14. It could vote on the online learning expansion then.