Bentonville Schools to offer expanded virtual education


BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Some local students can now do their school work completely online, starting in the 5th grade.

The Bentonville School District approved the program last night. 

Bentonville students in grades five through twelve will now have the option of doing 100% of their schoolwork online.

Right now the district offers digital programs linked to Northwest Arkansas Community College and a high school online blended learning program.

This third option is for those who want something other than a traditional brick and mortar format. 

“I train classically to improve my technique,” says dancer Bella Saclolo.

Dance is not just a hobby for the 15-year old. It’s her passion.

“I started when I was 8,” Saclolo said. “I’m here with an apprentice for the company from 9 p.m. to 4 p.m., or 5 p.m. — sometimes 6 p.m.”

Instead of going to a traditional high school, she does her work at home and online.

“Mornings and nights, late nights and early mornings. And then lunch — eat and read,” Saclolo.said.

She’s one of the many elite athletes that need flexibility when it comes to schoolwork.

“Certainly families want choices,” says Jennifer Morrow, Executive Director of Secondary Education for the Bentonville School District.

Starting this fall, the Bentonville School District will allow more students to do work completely online.

Students in grades nine through twelve will take six courses at time, and those in grades five through eight will take five.

“This allows people the flexibility to participate in these things and be together as a family, but to still get a rigorous education,” Morrow said. “There will be options for these students to still be involved in athletics…our singings groups or things like that, robotics club. They will also have interaction with these courses.”

All courses will be taught by Bentonville school teachers, and they will be given a Bentonville school transcript.

The district is joining other Northwest Arkansas schools expanding virtual learning, something Saclolo appreciates as she hones her craft.

“Our career starts when we’re young. We have to start seriously training when we are young, and if we don’t, then we have to miss a lot of opportunities.”

Morrow also points to a new state law that requires schools to offer expelled students alternative learning at home. She says that law takes effect this summer.

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