As school districts across East Texas prepare for the fall semester, Athens ISD is launching an online academy.
Athens ISD Virtual Academy allows students in grades 6-12 to enroll in the program.
“What we are launching is as much a legitimate accredited school as our brick and mortar school as we'll call it,” Toni Clay, communications coordinator at Athens ISD, said.
According to Clay, Athens ISD is one of the few school districts in East Texas to offer a high school degree fully online. Hallsville ISD also offers the Texas Virtual Academy for kindergarten through 12th grade.
“They're graduating from Athens ISD and their diploma is every bit as valid as it would be for students who go to every single class in the hallways of the high school,” Clay said. “We know there are students who just do not feel for a variety of reasons that a traditional classroom setting is where they learn best.”
Clay says the idea for the virtual academy started long before COVID-19.
"We know that there are students out there who are entirely separate from COVID-19," Clay said. "They need this approach. This is better for them, it will work better for them, but students or parents who may just be feeling like a little bit anxious because of the virus, we as Athens Middle School, Athens High School, we're already working on accommodations that are separate from the online Academy."
Students would use online resources to complete assignments from the more than 300 courses offered.
Students can also be involved in extracurricular activities.
“If you're part of Athens online Academy, but you also would like to play in the band or play basketball, or be part of any club or organization that our district offers, then you would let us know that and it's part of an application process,” Clay said.
According to Clay, there are more than 130 applicants who have already signed up for the online program. Applicants can be also resident outside of Athens.
For more information on the virtual academy, click here.