Posted Date: 10/13/2021
In 2013 and 2014, Arkansas decided to start Virtual Arkansas, a State Virtual School, to provide supplemental online courses and services throughout the state to provide equity in educational access and opportunity for students in Arkansas who would otherwise not have those opportunities, particularly rural schools and schools that have high free and reduced lunch populations.
For example, rural and high-poverty schools tend to lack access to highly qualified teachers, offer fewer advanced courses such as Advanced Placement and Concurrent Credit courses, and lack various Career and Technical Education courses and other electives. Currently, 97% of rural schools in Arkansas utilize the online courses, teachers, and services of this program, and 62% of the approximately 38,000 Virtual Arkansas enrollments come from our rural schools. To put these statistics in perspective, 30% of Arkansas students are enrolled in rural schools. In other words, 62% of the Virtual Arkansas enrollments come from 30% of the student population. It just happens to be one of the student populations who need this access to educational opportunity the most.
The Virtual Arkansas program provides statewide access to online courses with dedicated online teachers. In addition, it offers local teachers access to affordable and high-quality digital content designed and developed specifically to meet Arkansas curriculum standards.