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As an Arkansas family, we have had several choices when it came to our children’s education. Right now, that means attendance at an outstanding public school for two of them, and an alternative option for one that allows home school time a couple of days each week.
This structure helps him to develop skills he’ll need a lot more as an adult: time management, task management, self-discipline. With adult supervision at home, small classroom size and tight communication with teachers, I can be involved with and build on what he is learning.
Arkansas students and parents have options; it does mean being open to possibilities beyond the conventional school model.
Arkansas Virtual Academy
Based in Little Rock
Online public school
“The only statewide virtual public school program to offer the complete K-12 experience.”
The Arkansas Virtual Academy offers education from Kindergarten through 12th grade by licensed teachers. According to their website, students work at their own pace within state regulations and have opportunities throughout the year to attend field trips and social events, and participate in online discussions based on interest rather than where a child and family live.
The academy boasts an active school community, rigorous curriculum, and opportunities for extracurricular activities.
Photo courtesy of DTSOI Virtual Academy/Dr. Shay Elizabeth Hopper
Don Tyson School of Innovation: Virtual Innovation Academy
Public school with virtual option
The Don Tyson School of Innovation has grown from small gatherings housed in The Jones Center to its own school building near the eastern outskirts of Springdale. In addition to the traditional classroom schedule, students have an opportunity for virtual education under their Virtual Innovation Academy program.
Students on the blended model can attend classes both on-campus and work on course content off-campus on alternating days, typical to a university model. They have access to help and are supervised by a program coordinator. Virtual students are able to take all classes through the school’s online education program and come to school for clubs, events and other special learning activities.
Lillian Miller is a high school senior who has taken a full-time job while completing course requirements. Her work at a local insurance agency has allowed her to make connections throughout the community and gain skills she would not otherwise have had the same opportunity to learn as attending a traditional school. She appreciates the hands-on experience the virtual academy affords her.
“The academy offers undeniable flexibility that allows students to change the standard for what high school looks like and get experience in the real world.”
The model is housed in the largest public school system in Arkansas, providing credibility to the program. All virtual students must complete requirements for high school graduation in the Springdale school district, and receive instruction and supervision from accredited teachers.
Dr. Shay Elizabeth Hopper is the enthusiastic coordinator for the Virtual Innovation Academy at School of Innovation. She says the flexibility of learning at school and from home personalizes education, allowing children to learn in the way they learn best, and means something different for each of them.
“This model gives students a voice in their education. Unique about School of Innovation’s program is that participants are integrated into a school campus; they can come to the classroom as much as they need or want.”
Home school + Meeting one day/week
Tuition + fees
This faith-based option allows parents to educate children throughout the week with support from a like-minded community with whom they meet once a week. Internationally, the school model has nearly 122,000 students enrolled. Arkansas has 34 Classical Conversations communities.
Amanda Kenter, support representative for the North Northwest Arkansas community says the model provides parents with the framework for a classical Christian education and to be the main educator for their children.
“Our goal is to equip parents to home-school through high school. Meeting once a week provides support to the parents and students in an encouraging community.”
Tuition and fees
CrossPointe Preparatory is “dedicated to integrating faith, affirming family, and transforming learning.” The model allows parents to have an impact on students’ lives and education by spending part of the time supervising schoolwork at home. Students spend working at home and then attending class two to three days a week.
School admissions works to attract those who are motivated to learn and display curiosity and a good work ethic. With their university model, CrossPointe hopes to adequately prepare students for future success in college.
Providence Classical Christian Academy
University Model: classroom plus home school
Tuition and fees
My oldest child has attended this school since 6th grade. It has been a good fit for him and allowed for classroom instruction in a smaller setting with strict expectations for appropriate behavior and family involvement. The school uses a regular system to keep students and parents informed of homework assignments and academic progress throughout the school year.
Kandace Bowen and her family are in their 11th year at Providence. Three of her children graduated from the school and she felt they were all well-prepared for college.
“I’ve been thankful that the unique model shows us a wonderful education with plenty of independent time to work at home as well. Providence has been a huge blessing to our family.”
Pinnacle Classical Academy
Tuition and fees
Classical education today emphasizes study of literature and art and teaches students to apply critical thinking skills through rhetoric and logic.
Pinnacle Classical Academy provides Christ-centered classical training. According to their site, classical education is designed to help students “acquire universal tools of learning so that the student would be equipped for a lifelong journey of acquiring knowledge, no matter what the subject matter.” They use the university model to support high parental involvement in a child’s education with the combination of home school and classroom time.
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