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First class set for Virtual Academy
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Forsyth County News
On Aug. 30, 148 students will boldly go where few of them have learned before - home.

The middle and high school students enrolled in the iAchieve Virtual Academy will get a Forsyth County public education without having to leave their houses.

Lunchtime will be whenever they’re hungry and there is no dress code. But the school district's latest alternative education concept is not for everyone.

Susan Atkins, student support services and iAchieve director, said it's designed for students who are disciplined and self-motivated to excel in a computer-based learning environment.

Students like 16-year-old Erin Guerreso, who left Lambert High School to attend iAchieve.

“I wanted to graduate early, so I actually skipped my junior year and I’m finishing all of my credits this year,” she said. “I’m really anxious to get to college.”

Guerreso, who hopes to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design, lacks just eight classes. Her goal is to finish by year's end, if not sooner.

“I’m going to see how much I can get done and then see what happens,” she said.

More than half the students registered were attending a county middle or high school. Some are coming from a private school or were being home schooled.

One student from Forsyth is enrolled in iAchieve while she spends time with her family in India.

Online orientation for students and parents begins Monday. As with a campus setting, students are expected to log on during regular school days and will be reported absent if they don’t.

About 20 teachers will keep online office hours to help students, Atkins said. They will post assignments, activities and deadlines.

“Students need to meet those due dates, but when they meet those due dates is up to their own personal schedule and how they manage their time,” she said.

The last day to enroll for Aug. 30 iAchieve coursework was Friday. However, students can enroll at any time and get on a waiting list.

Since it's a new program, district spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said she expects many parents will watch how the first students fair before enrolling their children.

“This is a pilot year for the school, but we expect a large increase in enrollment next year after we share the success of our students," she said.