CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Public Schools are launching a new online program for grades K-12 that allows students to complete school from the comfort of their own home.
The Cincinnati Digital Academy is a free web-based, college preparatory curriculum that is accessible online 24 hours a day. So far roughly 40 students have enrolled.
"The idea that you do not have to go to a building, it's just so different than what is traditional," admitted Eric Thomas, CPS Office of Innovation director.
Thomas says the traditional classroom is now just one educational option. He says non-traditional students require non-traditional learning environments.
"Students that have home responsibilities, job responsibilities," Thomas said. "I think that's maybe the ideal situation."
He recognizes, however, that it is not for everyone.
"For students who feel the need to engage with students and to have that social interaction... obviously being in an online setting, that might not be the best situation for them," he admitted.
"It would really help people who don't consider going to public school, but can't afford private school or parochial school," former CPS mom Linda Rumf said. "I think it would really help the parents get the structure they need to make sure those kids get the education they need."
Rumf, mother of three, says this could be the best of both worlds: the structure of the public school system with the one-on-one attention of home school.
"Homeschooling used to be weird and now people are like 'I don't want my kids going to that public school'," Rumf said.
The online class is interactive with videos, hands-on lessons, and interaction with CPS teachers like Tamara Johnson.
"We do have office hours. We're here. If they want to come in, they can come in," Johnson said.
Johnson says she is anxious to get the keyboards heating up.
"We are really excited," she said. "The team that I'm working with are great and it's going to be a great school year."
Students taking part in the program are allowed access to the extracurricular activities offered at area Cincinnati Public Schools. Students in grades K-8 can take advantage of all those opportunities at the elementary school in their neighborhood while students in grades 9-12 can select extracurricular programs at the high school of their choice.
CPS is offering a free desktop computer with Internet access and technical support as well as access to online textbooks, science labs and materials.