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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs
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The Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD) in Arizona announced that it is launching the Flagstaff Online Academy, an online K-4 school, for the 2021-2022 school year.

The academy, which will only be offered if minimum enrollment targets are met to justify staffing and program costs, will deliver live and recorded instruction to students in an online environment. The school will also offer support and feedback through formative and summative assessments and virtual meetings.

The online school will be based out of Thomas Elementary, a traditional in-person school in the FUSD. Students enrolled in the online academy will work with Thomas teachers and classmates over Zoom throughout the academic day. FUSD noted that the lessons and content are aligned with FUSD curriculum guides and are consistent with the live lessons occurring at Thomas Elementary school.

Thomas Elementary Principal Virginia Biggs said her vision for online learning is to “provide a quality online learning experience for Flagstaff families that is in sync with the values of [the] district and [the] school while working to transform the educational experience.”

FUSD distinguished between the online academy and previous remote education during the pandemic. “Different than previous remote experiences, classrooms will be constructed around a virtual environment and will utilize strategies to effectively support students and families seeking an online education,” the school district said.

To participate in the online academy, students will need internet access and a dedicated device to access course content and instruction. FUSD will provide a tablet on a check-out basis to all enrolled students.

The online academy will follow the FUSD calendar and operate five days a week during traditional school hours. In addition to academic coursework, students will also receive live instruction in art, music, physical education, and a library.

Coursework is a mixture of online and offline work. FUSD also stressed that “student success in this program is going to need active parental involvement.”

As part of the online application parents must confirm that:

  • They have access to a reliable internet connection;
  • Can supervise and support their student during the school day;
  • Verify that their child has “shown success in learning remotely with a combination of live instruction and independent work”; and
  • They want their student to “learn and develop 21st-century technology skills.”
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