Local virtual school to open enrollment statewide

The alternative charter school, with offices at 320 E. Silver St., Lebanon, will be named the Greater Ohio Virtual School, effective July 1, according to Tom Isaacs, virtual school board president.

The virtual school serves students who are deemed “at-risk” of not graduating because of behavioral or health problems, poor attendance or credit deficiencies.

Isaacs said this year the school served about 400 students who come from communities in about a 50-mile radius around Lebanon.

He said they expect enrollment to increase as the school begins to offer its services across the state.

The virtual school can be a pretty good deal for its students. As one of the many educational services provided by the Warren County Educational Service Center, the virtual school provides each student a laptop and Internet access, either through dial up services or a wireless card, Isaacs said.

Students send their completed assignments via e-mail to teachers and they can ask questions or be tutored in that manner. Isaacs said some students are tutored through video conferencing using the website, skype.com.

The students are required to complete all graduation requirements before they receive a high school diploma, Isaacs said.

Brian Barot, virtual school principal, said the school is an alternative for many students who aren’t accepted back at their home school district or who have not passed the assessment test required for graduation. The school serves students up to 22 years old. Barot said the older students pursue their diploma through the virtual school as opposed to getting a General Educational Development certificate because they feel a regular high school diploma will open more doors for them.

The virtual school, which is 100 percent state funded, educates students at a cheaper cost than other public school systems. The school receives about $5,700 per pupil from the state; the virtual school spends about $5,000 per pupil, while the average cost per pupil of the 613 public schools in the state is $9,200, Isaacs said.

Contact this reporter at (513) 696-4542 or rwilson@coxohio.com.

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