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By Erika Martin
Considering that I am currently pursuing my high school diploma at the age of 34, I’m always interested in learning about new educational opportunities that are a bit “out of the box.” The iAchieve Virtual Academy is one of those.
When I was home schooled my last three years of high school, it would have been great to have a program like the iAchieve Virtual Academy to receive my high school diploma. If I were able to access the public school system through a virtual school setting, I most likely wouldn’t be pursuing my diploma at the age of 34. I would like to see virtual academies set up across the country for all school systems. It would allow non-traditional students the opportunity to thrive in the areas they are best at while still getting a top-notch education.
Located in Forsyth County, Georgia, the iAchieve Virtual Academy offers free tuition to any student in grades 6-12 in all of Forsyth County. An elementary component is currently under construction. The free tuition is due to the iAchieve Academy being part of the public school offerings in Forsyth County. Students in Georgia that are outside of Forsyth County are welcome to apply, but will need to pay tuition.
What makes the iAchieve Virtual Academy so special is that it offers an alternative educational solution for students that, for many different reasons, aren’t able or choose not to continue with their education in a traditional classroom. Because the iAchieve Virtual Academy is done online, it offers flexibility for students that wouldn’t be available in a traditional setting.
I was able to speak with Susan Atkins, Assistant Director of Student Support Services and iAchieve Virtual Academy to gain a better understanding of what iAchieve Virtual Academy offers, specifically for young women.
“The goal is to provide a quality education for 21st century learners,” Susan shared. The school district in Forsyth County, GA has a graduate profile that Susan said includes “21st century technology skills, thinking skills, building relationships, communication among peers and non-peers and global communications.” The iAchieve Virtual Acadmey provides opportunities to build all of these characteristics in their students through 100% virtual learning.
I was particularly interested in hearing how the iAchieve Virtual Academy provides an education for young women and specifically how it empowers them. Susan shared two components that she feels the program reaches out to empower especially their female students. She notes that a number of the young women in the program are “highly competent, highly engaged, highly competitive females in other areas then just their academic school work.” Some of these include athletes and ballerinas, for example. Many of these students will pursue these passions as their career and life’s work and being able to get a high quality education through a virtual program like iAchieve allows them those opportunities without the restraints of a traditional school setting.
Another target market for the iAchieve program, Susan said, are young women that haven’t found educational success in the traditional classroom setting due to social interactions, boredom they’re bored or not being engaged or challenged. The iAchieve program allows these students to find an enviroment where they can be successful and build a strong education and move on to other things, Susan noted.
For the time being, the iAchieve Virtual Academy is limited to the state of Georgia due to the state-mandated assessments needing to be completed in person. iAchieve does have international students that are living abroad because their parents are on temporary assignments, but schedule their visits back to Georgia around the time of the assessment tests. This is just another way that iAchieve looks to meet the individual needs of their students.
For more information about the iAchieve Virtual Academy, their website has an extensive FAQ section. You can also view their large course offering for both middle and high school students.
About the columnist:
Erika Martin was withheld from attaining her high school diploma and a higher education due to living in a spiritually abusive upbringing. She is currently working towards attaining her high school diploma and plans to pursue a degree in Psychology after graduation this June. Erika will highlight relevant news and information that relates to education as well as chronicle her journey toward her diploma.
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