IDAHO FALLS — The Bonneville School District has partnered with a nationwide online academy to offer classes to students throughout East Idaho – and the state.
Williamsburg Academy will provide live, online courses to students enrolled in Bonneville’s online programs for kids in grades 6-12 starting this fall. Students from Jerome, north to Sun Valley and east to Idaho Falls will be encouraged to enroll, but the district will accept statewide applications on a “case-by-case” basis, according to one administrator.
“Many students have to take online classes – and many just do better in them,” said Shelley Andrus, principal of Bonneville’s K-8 online school.
Students homebound from chronic illness, behavioral or learning challenges and other “unique” situations will benefit most from the new online option, Andrus added.
Bonneville started offering online courses to K-8 students in 2009. In 2011, the district extended enrollment to students in grades 9-12.
Roughly 105 students enrolled full-time online at Bonneville last year. But nearly 600 took at least one online course in order to work toward graduation – evidence of a growing demand for online learning, Andrus said.
“Many students work jobs or take part in after-school activities,” she said. “Not all of them need a full-time, online program – but many of them might need at least a class or two.”
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Andrus anticipates that the district’s open enrollment period for the programs will have a minimal impact on surrounding districts. Idaho’s complex funding formula is based on average daily attendance. Roughly 90 percent of enrollees at Bonneville online are already a part of a homebound program and are not attending public schools, Andrus said.
The district will pay the bill for enrollees, including textbooks. Students will be charged a $75 deposit fee, which will be returned at the end of the semester.
Bonneville gets a 15 percent discount as part of the deal with Williamsburg, and the district will not be charged more than $3,000 per enrollee, according to the agreement between the online schools.
A variety of online options are available to students through Williamsburg. Here’s a breakdown of class types and associated costs:
- Live courses: $330
- Self-paced courses: $200
- Language courses: $137.50
- Independent courses: $110
- Elevation outdoor courses: $440