COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Despite early challenges associated with transitioning to at-home learning amid the pandemic, District 11 is making changes based on an increased demand.
"When we look at our data over the past ten years or so, we've seen an increase in demand for online learning," Julie Johnson said.
The district is launching a complete online school option, called Spark Online Academy, for K-8 students beginning in August 2021.
Johnson, newly appointed principal for the school, said while the pandemic created several challenges in the last year, it also provided an opportunity for more flexible alternatives.
"So many families that were exposed to this learning model really came to see that their kids were thriving in it and also that they appreciated the flexibility."
The program is designed for students who thrive in a virtual environment, while still allowing opportunities for social engagement.
"They're going to have access to some strong rich curriculum and then design learning pathways that are specific to the needs of their students."
Level of involvement from parents will also depend on each student's age and needs, with an overall emphasis on social-emotional health.
"We are setting up systems and structures of support for our students that's an ongoing cyclical process to make sure that students have access to the support that they need."
The district plans to begin accepting applications for the new school beginning next week, with plans to expand grade level based on community demand.
For more information, visit the District 11 website.