Virtual Schools

A new form of school is slowly making itself known in Kansas. The state is now home to 19 virtual schools, which use current computer and telecommunications technology.

• Elkhart Cyber School, (K-12)• Olathe, E Academy (grades nine to 12)

• Emporia Turning Point Learning Center, (K-8)

• Wichita eSchool, (K-12)

• Maize Online (grades nine to 12)

• Hutchinson Cyber Charter (K-6)

• Lorraine Lakeside Learning Center, (K-12)

• Baldwin E, (grades nine to 12)

• Manhattan, Oracle Virtual Learning (grades seven to 12)

• Smokey Call Virtual Charter School (grades seven to 12)

• Mullinville 21st Century Charter School Learning Academy (K-12)

• Cherryvale Diploma Center, (grades five to 12)

• Garden City (three courses only, grades nine to 12)

• Basehor-Linwood Virtual School (K-12)

• Learning Center of Ellis County Virtual Program, Hays (grades nine to 12)

• Lawrence Virtual Charter School (K-8); Lawrence Virtual Secondary Program (grades nine to 12)

• Cornerstone Virtual School, Galena (grades nine to 12)

• Hope Street Charter Academy, Topeka (grades nine to 12)

• Shawnee Mission eSchool (K-8)

Last year school year, 3,804 students were enrolled in in virtual classes. (The number of full-time students was smaller, since some students take only one class this way, and attend a traditional school the rest of the time.)

Opinions on the schools are mixed. Linda Geiger, of the Kansas Department of Education, calls them an example of open enrollment. Shawn Morris, administrative coordinator for Wichita eSchool, would prefer that virtual schools restrict themselves to the local school district. But in Lawrence, Gary Lewis, oversees a virtual school that advertises outside its home district, including in Wichita.

Not all students will thrive in a virtual school. But it can be a good option for some.

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