Robert Catanese, FOX 28 Media
The Georgia Cyber Academy is currently in their 10th school year. Initially launched in the Fall of 2007, GCA now serves more than 14,000 full-time students in Georgia from all 159 counties. It’s the largest K-12 public school in Georgia.
Matt Arkin is the Head of School for GCA. He said collaboration is key.
“The focus of our school is a partnership between our teachers our students and parents, working together to help make sure our students get a great education,” said Arkin.
Rachael Mercer has had four children registered with GCA for four years.
“We are giving them experiences now because of our free time that allows them to see what it is they enjoy,” said Mercer.
But, Rachael said she did wrestle with the idea of cyber schooling.
“I toyed with this idea for a long time, no, I can’t do this, I’m not good enough, I’m not educated enough, my kids are not going to be socialized,” said Mercer.
However, all of her children are exceeding expectations and taking advanced classes. Her daughter, Melinda Kaye, has already completed her curriculum for the year.
“When you look at how they are succeeding it was absolutely the right thing to do,” said Mercer.
Kimberly Hancock is the Executive Director of Elementary Governance for the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. She believes there are numerous benefits in having children in a conventional school.
“You are going to have a highly qualified teacher we are going to be teaching the standards. You learn to work as a team, you are in a classroom and you are with other children your age,” said Hancock.
Hancock also lays out specifics for the usual brick and mortar schools.
“It brings learning to life, it’s real world experience. As you grow, you learn how to share, you learn how to make good choices, you learn how to not always get your way. It is very valuable, it’s part of the learning process,” said Hancock.
GCA officials say their passing and completion rates top 98 percent, Savannah-Chatham School District graduation rates have steadily increased in the past few years. Last year’s rate was more than 81 percent and increased to more than 83 percent this year.
Arkin said GCA is providing a viable option to parents and students.
“Virtual public school is not the right choice for every student but for a lot of students the traditional public school isn’t the best fit for them and doesn’t meet their needs,” said Arkin.
GCA employs more than 600 teachers and staff across Georgia.
It also receives annually upwards of 10,000 to 15,000 new enrollment applications each year. GCA serves students in grades K-12. If you would like more information about the Georgia Cyber Academy, log on to gacyber.org or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.