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Free virtual charter school enrolling students

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Parents from across the Chattahoochee Valley are getting a chance to learn more about a free online education for their students. Students and teachers say the online experience is unique, offering flexibility and deeper learning.

Emily McClure is a recent graduate of Georgia Connections Academy. She graduated as valedictorian from the free online school a little over a month ago.

"My graduation experience was very very real. Real ceremony, real speakers and guests. It was done at the Gwinnett Center in Atlanta and I got to make a speech and presented a medal and it was wonderful," said McClure.

Emily is just one of nearly 3 thousand students across the state who take part in virtual education. The curriculum is nearly identical to what students learn in "brick and mortar" schools. Students are tested to the same standards and the school is fully accredited. For Emily, she enjoyed the in-depth time she got with teachers and the material she learned during her 2 years at Georgia Connections.

"I actually got to know my teachers better and have a better connection with them because they have more time to give individual commentary," said McClure.

4th grade Master teacher Matt Herman explains the experience allows flexibility and an interactive environment for students to excel and grow.

"People who want the experience of saying, 'Okay, let's take our family to the Grand Canyon for the week. But you would miss school?' With us, all you need to do is take your laptop with you and you've got school and your fingertips," said Herman.

While the education is virtual, the diploma's are very real. Emily is heading to Georgia College and State University in the fall. She'll be a part of the honors program.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

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