DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Starting next fall, Dallas ISD will be rolling out a full-time virtual school for 3rd through 9th graders.
District official say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them realize the need for this option.
Monica Morris, a 17-year veteran Dallas ISD educator, says she recently had the opportunity to be a teacher in the district's virtual academy and learned a lot.
"There are kids who didn't realize that this was their best way to learn until we were forced into virtual learning in the pandemic and now that we know this is their best way, we want to give it to them," she said.
It's what led her to become the principal of the district's new iLearn Virtual School.
At first it will only be offered for grades 3 - 9, but the hope is to expand to K - 12 in the years to come.
Each grade will have about 50 students and will offer a self-paced curriculum taught by state-certified teachers.
Additionally, students will have access to field trips, extracurricular activities and social clubs.
"We're still going to be guided by the State of Texas, TEKS, and so at the end the learning goals for all kids, whether they're in an in person brick and mortar school or they're in the virtual school, the leaning expectations from the state are the same," Morris said.
Morris says she's seen the TEA reports that show remote learning appeared to contribute to learning loss during the pandemic, but in her experience she would say that's not true for all kids.
"I mean let's be real, you know for a lot of students the data has shown us across the State of Texas that it is true, there are many kids who learn best in person, but there are a lot of kids who found that they learn best virtually," she said.
The district will be taking student applications through next Monday.
It's also in the process of recruiting local teachers for the virtual school.
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