New charter school offers alternative education option

A new virtual charter school is available in the Bishop/Mammoth area and it’s free and open to most students.

The new, 501c3 nonprofit academy is called Golden State Virtual Academy. It’s a state-sponsored school and is thus free to students. It already has about 80 students, according to Principal Randy Cook.

The school is in the “candidacy stage” of accreditation, and is expected to get the stamp of approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, according to Cook, who said the school has already met or exceeded the requirements for accreditation that it has so far had to meet.

Full accreditation is expected within three years.

Cook was the principal of the Home Street Middle School before moving to the Palisades Glacier High School and now, to the new charter school.

“It’s ideal for students who play sports competitively, or who for various reasons, cannot make a regular school environment work effectively for them,” he said.

“We had the number one calf roper in the country from Bishop Union High School graduate recently,” Cook said. “He would travel a lot, and the traditional structure of a classroom was not a good fit for him.”

Students with medical problems, students who are high performers for whom regular classes are not challenging enough, and students with challenges often thrive in an environment such as the one the academy offers, Cook said.

“We work with students individually to make sure their needs are addressed,” he said.
There are several windows for enrollment.

All Golden State Virtual Academy courses are aligned to meet California state standards, as well as national standards, according to the school’s website.

“We offer a comprehensive set of college-preparatory courses covering all the required subjects in math, science, language arts, and social studies, visual and performing arts, and P.E.
“Our interactive interface allows students to navigate through the course material and activities with ease, while providing a rigorous program. Daily activities include a variety of different exercises including videos, reading assignments, simulations, games that help you review concepts and vocabulary, quizzes, daily classroom discussions, and weekly projects.”

“Courses are available at any time of day or night. Students can access our innovative curriculum in a consistent, highly interactive format, and they receive weekly personalized attention from our California-certificated, highly qualified teachers.”

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