COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - School District 49 has a hidden jewel in its school system. It's the only one of its kind in Southern Colorado. It's the Virtual Academy off Constitution near Powers on the east side. It's what's called a blended learning, K-12 Virtual Academy which mixes online and classroom learning to get the best out of its students.
Ten year old Sophia Mayhugh loves it. She's going to be a fifth grader at the Virtual Academy and its the only school she's ever attended, "I'm getting everything that I need because I still meet with friends, but I'm still getting a good education and having fun doing it."
Sophia's Mom, Stacey also has her eighth grade daughter, Sophia in the Virtual Academy. Stacey told me, "Hands down it's more individualized. The staff here is incredible and they go above and beyond everything to make sure your child has a great education."
Lori Hall is a teacher at the Virtual Academy. She says there is one problem in traditional schools that isn't a problem here, "We don't have bullying issues here. We haven't had an issue in the last three years I've been here. This is an amazing place to be and to learn."
There are no additional fees to go to the Virtual Academy. If a student can't afford a laptop, they can check one out to help them during the school year. The Virtual Academy has grown leaps and bounds since it first started at D-49, four years ago. The enrollment is now up to nearly 500 students. Virtual Academy leaders tell me that the passing rates for students in 7th through 12 grades is nearly 90 percent. They hope to increase it to 94 percent. The Virtual Academy says traditional brick and mortar schools have a much lower passing rate.