Clear Connections Virtual School, as it is called, will be an extension of Clear Connections, the remote learning program CCISD launched shortly after the pandemic began.
“We are pleased to offer this unique learning environment for students who truly thrive in an online learning environment,” CCISD Superintendent Eric Williams said in a press release. “We are looking beyond COVID-19 and identifying the successful attributes of an online education. Clear Connections Virtual School will be a destination for families who love Clear Creek ISD but also enjoy the flexibility an online platform offers.”
Today, students can switch between Clear Connections—or remote learning—and on-campus instruction every few weeks depending on their circumstances. With Clear Connections Virtual School, however, students will be enrolled for a full year, said Steven Ebell, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
“There’s a certain type of student that is successful in online learning,” he said.
Students who want to enroll in Clear Connections Virtual School will have to unenroll from the campus to which they are zoned and enroll in the virtual academy as a “school of choice.” These students will still be able to participate in before and after-school extracurricular activities at the school to which they are zoned, however, Ebell said.
Today, teachers instruct virtual and in-person students simultaneously. Focus groups conducted at CCISD have shown this to be an incredible challenge for teachers and students, which prompted the idea to create a fully virtual school, Ebell said. The school will be staffed by teachers who will instruct virtual students only, he said.
“We’re moving away from that hybrid model,” Ebell said. “That model is not sustainable for us.”
Additionally, the virtual school will allow for “self-paced electives,” virtual clubs, both synchronous and asynchronous learning, and its own class rank system and graduation ceremony. The school includes a magnet program at the elementary level as well.
CCISD will host webinars for parents interested in learning more. Sessions may be viewed at noon March 25 and 6 p.m. March 29 at www.ccisd.net.
Applications for next school year became available March 24. The deadline to apply is noon April 9. Enrollment confirmation in Clear Connections Virtual School will not occur until the Texas Legislature adopts specific legislation to fund remote learning for the 2021-22 school year, a CCISD press release reads.
Officials have indicated the virtual academy could remain even after the pandemic ends.