The Watauga Virtual Academy is adding a new option for families this coming school year with a dual enrollment program. 

Starting in the fall, the district's online public school will offer K-8 homeschooled students the opportunity to take a few classes and participate in extracurricular activities. 

Watauga County Schools Communications Director Garrett Price says this could look different for each individual family depending on what their needs are — and that's the point. 

“COVID has kind of brought it to the forefront that there are increasing needs for families for flexibility and there are different ways to educate children these days,” Price said. “And we just want to be the best option. We want to just continue to … meet families' needs where they are.”

Watauga County Schools has offered a similar program at the high school for the last several years. Dual-enrolled students can learn what they choose to at home, take a few classes a day at the school and participate in extracurriculars and athletics. 

Price said that the virtual academy gave the district the opportunity to broaden that kind of program into the K-8 level. He said he hopes this will give students "a hook" into what the district has to offer while maintaining the flexibility of homeschooling. 

In a press release from the Watauga County Schools district, WVA Principal Kelly Walker said that while the school is online, there have been several in-person opportunities and gatherings over the last school year. 

“It's our goal to build on our existing programs and opportunities that get students together and further the community that we've built over the past year in the WVA,” Walker said in the release. “But we really want to look towards our opportunities to expand and be more flexible, too.”

Families looking to dual enroll their children should contact Walker over the summer at

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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