Pittsburgh Public Schools board expected to vote on expanding Online Academy

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The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools is expected to vote next week on expanding its new Pittsburgh Online Academy from grades 6-12 to grades 4-12.

At an agenda review meeting tonight, Jerri Lynn Lippert, chief academic officer, said the online academy, which opened in the fall, has served 144 students, although not all at the same time. She said typically about 50 are enrolled in any given month. Of the 55 students enrolled at the start of the school year, 17 remain enrolled.

Ms. Lippert said there are challenges in the program, including the problem of some students not having an involved parent to help ensure the student is doing the work.

One of the goals of the system has been to attract students who otherwise might have gone to a cyber charter school. The district must pay a fee set by the state for each resident who attends a cyber charter schools. The program the district is offering this year costs significantly less.

In 2011-12, the district spent $11 million on payments to cyber charter schools.

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Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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