Omaha Virtual School application closes this week

A virtual public education option is helping offer an alternative to metro students.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 10:41 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Alexandra La Torre saw her oldest daughter, Alexia, struggling in school. 8:00-3:00 dedicated to learning was more like 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., so she looked into an alternative: the OPS-run Omaha Virtual School.

“She was a C-grade student. That was her really trying her best. Right now, she has a GPA of 3.85, so she has done tremendous,” said La Torre.

After seeing Alexia excel in OVS, La Torre decided to enroll her other daughter, Amelia, in kindergarten.

“When I’m at home, they still teach me, and it feels like I’m still at school my PJs,” said Amelia.

She does have to put real clothes on at least once a week because OVS students do meet in person to learn too.

“When our students are on site, we really focus on collaboration, engaging activities, get students to interact with one another in learning activities that they can’t do at home alone or with their parents,” said Dr. Wendy Loewenstein, Director of Omaha Virtual School.

Enrollment in Omaha Public Schools’ virtual K-12 school has nearly doubled since it started in 2016.

The deadline for new students to apply is Friday of this week.

Tuesday night, parents got a chance to learn more about this alternative learning environment.

The OVS director says there are multiple reasons blended learning is becoming more popular.

“I think COVID really helped families figure out if learning at home was for them,” she said. “For some, it was wonderful. Other families are like, Nope, this didn’t work.”

It’s also for kids who need more attention or have demanding extra-curricular activities.

“We have a student who is an ice skater and who competes actively in ice skating. And we have a gymnast who is an active competitor in gymnastics…(a) track star.”

OVS is not remote learning, where a teacher is with students the entire time. It’s more like homeschooling with the help of about 15 OPS teachers and weekly in-person classes.

“At first I really didn’t believe that I had the capacity,” said OVS parent La Torre. “I was pretty scared that I don’t have an educational background, so it’s not like I have the training of a teacher or anything. I just have the will to give the best to my daughter.”

And that will is just what OVS leaders say they’re looking for when families submit the application.

The school is free for students and comes with the device and equipment they need to learn. In fact, OVS is the only public K-12 virtual school in the state.

The overall capacity is about 300 students, and there are more than 100 new student applications already.

Dr. Loewenstein said the school has grown every year since it started and is excited to see it continue to do so in the future.