Virtual Campus Will Expand to Middle School Grades
The first accredited online high school developed in Iowa is expanding next school year. The DMPS Virtual Campus, currently serving students in grades 9-12, will open to middle school students in Fall 2021.
The planned expansion of the online school is being done at this time in response to growing interest for virtual learning options due to the lingering impact and concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Having our Virtual Campus serve all secondary grades has always been our objective as it provides one more option to best serve our students,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “The COVID-19 pandemic has further piqued interest and support for online learning, making this the right time for more students to have a virtual option.”
Enrollment for grades 6-8 will initially be limited to 500 students. Funding to launch the expansion will come from the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, part of the federal government’s COVID-19 support for K-12 education.
DMPS will not offer a virtual learning option for elementary grades at this time.
“For some students, online learning is a more productive environment for their education, and for some families a virtual learning plan provides them with the flexibility they may need in their lives,” noted Jon Mendoza, director of the DMPS Virtual Campus. “Those factors, combined with our need to best serve families looking for options during the pandemic, have given us the chance to accelerate the ability for Virtual Campus to serve all secondary grades at DMPS.”
Virtual Campus students in grades 6-8 will take English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Music Appreciation, and an exploratory core wheel of courses that includes Business/Technology, Health, Art, and Spanish. ELL, special education and gifted & talented courses and programs will be available as needed.
In addition, Virtual Campus students in grades 6-8 will be able to participate in extracurricular activities and athletics through their home middle schools.
For more information, including how to register, visit virtualcampus.dmschools.org.