Virtual Academy launches for public schools in Waterbury

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Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 10:49 PM EDT
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WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - Eyewitness News is your back-to-school authority.

Monday was the first day of school for Waterbury Public School students.

As students kick off the new school year, there are some unique opportunities for students to take their education to the next level.

Mahasin Gudaf is ready to start her senior year at Waterbury Arts Magnet School.

“I’m very excited. I finally get to take classes with my friends. I’m going to be able to do new activities,” said Mahasin.

As she begins the process of applying to colleges, she’s looking forward to taking advantage of a new opportunity for Waterbury Public School students.

It’s the district’s virtual academy.

“In particular, I had the seen the Marketing Management course that they had offered and I had always wanted to take business, but I just wasn’t able to fit it into my schedule,” Mahasin said.

Waterbury’s Virtual Academy allows students to take classes virtually after the school day.

It doesn’t replace the regular school day but allows students more flexibility with their course work.

“And this came out of our re-imagining education, where we want to create an environment for students to, to really love what they’re doing and to expand that learning in non-traditional times,” said Dr. Verna Ruffin, Superintendent of Waterbury Public Schools.

Ruffin says the idea came about last year.

“When graduation requirements increased, we knew we needed to think of different ways that students could meet that requirement, and beyond just taking what you have to take, but also taking what you would love to take in, in order to thrive,” said Ruffin.

Courses in the virtual academy include advanced placement calculus, poetry, forensics and creative writing.

The majority of classes are geared towards upperclassmen.

“I’m interested because it gives me a new opportunity for learning something new and even like, dipping my toes into a new type of system, especially virtually, like a new class that it can take on top of the already seven classes that it am taking at Career,” said Fatih Alam, Junior at Waterbury Career Academy.

Waterbury’s Virtual Academy is set to roll out in September.

It’ll begin with about six or seven courses and then based on student interest, more teachers can be hired as necessary.