Denton ISD launching permanent online learning option

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Denton ISD announced recently that it has established a new K-8 Virtual Academy for the 2021-22 school year, a permanent full-time online learning option for students in eighth grade and below.

All Denton ISD students are eligible for pre-enrollment, the district said in a news release. The registration portal was opened on Thursday and will remain open through April 30. Preliminary enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Denton ISD K-8 Virtual Academy is a public, tuition-free school, and will provide an opportunity for students who thrive in the online environment to learn virtually. The district will provide laptops for any student who opts to use a district-issued device.

“By enrolling in the Academy, our families are committing to learning with our educators in this manner,” said Dr. Jamie Wilson, superintendent of schools. “Unlike this school year, students will not move back and forth between methods of instruction, and the Academy will be their home campus. We are supporting and staffing this school with stability and longevity in mind.”

Adding the new virtual campus also allows the district to reconnect with families and students who may have selected homeschool or disengaged with Denton ISD for a different form of instruction during the pandemic to return to the district and learn virtually for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond.

“I think it’s important to realize that Denton ISD is moving forward with these plans because there is a huge interest in our community,” said Trustee Doug Chadwick. “We are committed to having this option available for our online learning families because they have discovered during this school year that the ConnectedLearning platform works best for their student and their household. We want our community to understand that this virtual academy option is moving very quickly.”

Denton ISD’s fully remote option will provide an opportunity for students who thrive in the online environment to continue learning virtually. The staff is hand-selected from district educators who will dedicate all resources to support online instruction as well as new opportunities and offerings.

The district currently has an application for internal teaching candidates posted and will make staff selections as soon as enrollment numbers are confirmed.

“We’re excited to see where this project goes which is why we are moving forward with a sense of urgency. We know that there are people in our community who are ready for a full-time online learning option and it is garnering interest not only here in Denton but across the state,” Wilson said. “We want to meet the learning needs of all students in our community. We’re not the first district to do this in Texas, several districts are looking into it, we’re just the first district to communicate to our families that we’re going to do everything in our power to make this happen. We want the citizens in our community to stay connected to our school system.”

For more information, visit www.dentonisd.org/k8virtualacademy.

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Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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