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June 2, 2023

PVUSD cancels elementary portion of Virtual Academy

Grades 7-12 will remain

WATSONVILLE—After seeing declining enrollment in the lower grades of its Virtual Academy, Pajaro Valley Unified School District has canceled that portion of the online school.

But the District will keep the school’s 7-12 grades, since that portion has more robust student numbers.

The District Board of Trustees approved the Virtual Academy in July 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools nationwide to move to a virtual model. While the district was planning to return to in-person learning for the 2020-21 school year, some families were still wary of sending their children back to a brick-and-mortar building.

When it launched, 300 students in K-12 logged in with their teachers, one per grade.

But the numbers in the elementary school levels have dropped to just 40, which come despite recruitment efforts by the school’s principal, PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez says.

The elementary students will return to their home schools, although there is room at Pacific Coast Charter School, an independent study program, Rodriguez says. 

But some 120 students are still enrolled in the upper grades, she says. Those grades will be overseen by Renaissance High School Principal Jack Reed.

“There is no doubt that the Virtual Academy was a well put together program,” she said. “We are proud of that. We hope for years to come the high school portion will continue to be a good option for students, and will be a way to not only provide flexibility but acceleration.”

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