Pecos Cyber Academy (PCA), formerly Pecos Connections Academy, will be taking part in a state-wide virtual course consortium that will allow students from all over New Mexico to take some of their online classes.
On July 31 The New Mexico Public Education Department announced that seven districts and charter schools will take part in the New Mexico Virtual Course Consortium which will allow students to sign up for courses while staying enrolled in their home district.
PCA Executive Director Dr. Kim Hite-Pope said the consortium is a supplemental enrollment program aimed at helping school districts that don’t have staff for certain classes.
“Let’s say they can’t find a CTE (career and technical education) teacher, so there are some members of the consortium that are going to offer CTE classes,” Hite-Pope said.
She said the program will provide equitable access to expanded and highly qualified curriculum for students throughout New Mexico. Classes at PCA started Monday, Hite-Pope said they are just waiting for students to enroll in the consortium.
PCA is offering 74 high school courses but Hite-Pope said they may expand to other grades, special education or bilingual classes based on need. She said students taking part in the consortium will be able to participate in live lessons, listen to recordings and work one-on-one with teachers during office hours.
“The pandemic showed us the full potential of virtual learning as a way to expand student access to courses that may not be available in every district,” said New Mexico Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart in an announcement. “As this consortium continues to grow, New Mexico students will be able to explore new topics and take advanced courses no matter where they live.”
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The students home district will pay the providing district $375 per semester for middle and high school students and $700 per school year for elementary school students. Hite-Pope said this will go towards covering costs and providing participating teachers with a stipend.
Other participating schools include Cuba Public Schools, Taos Academy, Siembra Leadership High School, School of Dreams, Tucumcari Public Schools and San Jon Municipal Schools.
“The virtual consortium allows us to honor the strengths of our schools and districts and build innovation using the very assets that have blossomed in the state,” Deputy Secretary Gwen Perea Warniment said in the announcement.
Claudia Silva is a reporter from the UNM Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (575) 628-5506 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.