California District Partners To Launch Online Charter School

Pivot North Bay Charter School is a public school offering a full curriculum, experienced, state-certified teachers with advanced degrees, access to a broad range of academic and technological resources, and free tuition to all students in six northern California counties. The only thing that may strike outsiders as being a bit unusual is the dress code--students can attend class in pajamas without fear of reprisal.

Advanced Academics, an Oklahoma City-based online learning tools provider, has partnered with Oak Grove Union School District of Santa Rosa, CA, to open PNBCS for the 2009-2010 school year, free of charge and, perhaps even more notably, free of walls. The district is now accepting applications for the coming school year from students interested in an alternative to the standard academic environment. All students entering grades 6 through 11 in the counties of Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma are welcome to apply.

PNBCS offers all core and many elective subjects one would find in a traditional California high school, including Advanced Placement courses, and the diplomas it awards are fully sanctioned by the state. Students attend classes by regularly visiting the school Web page for each course they take. They are required to enroll in six courses per semester and complete each course by the end of the semester of enrollment; however, each student works at his or her own pace throughout the semester.

The school offers technical support to its remote attendees, and certified teachers in the subjects offered are available for consultation via phone, online chat, or e-mail weekdays from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. In addition, each student is assigned a student achievement coordinator who monitors academic progress. All students enrolling in the school are issued a laptop computer and, if financial need warrants, given an annual Internet service allowance.

A spokesperson said that the school expects to receive full accreditation next summer and will subsequently add grade 12 and begin issuing state-sanctioned diplomas beginning in the 2010-11 school year.

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.