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Arizona’s first online school for students with autism opening soon

The state of Arizona recently approved its first online charter school for students with autism.
The state of Arizona recently approved its first online charter school for students with autism.(WAFB)
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 4:10 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Classes at state’s first virtual school for students with autism and other special needs is opening in August, the school announced on Monday, July 12.

According to a news release from Arizona Autism Charter Schools, classes for the online school start on Aug. 3 and parent information sessions will be held on the last three Wednesdays in July. The school recently got state approval to become the state’s first online, tuition free charter school that focuses on students on the spectrum. Enrollment is open to students from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

“Many of our students have various appointments throughout the day, so if their family prefers they can now learn from home, while having the support of highly-qualified teachers, learning success coaches and case managers with a low student to teacher ratio,” Dana Van Deinse, the school’s senior director of partnerships and online learning, was quoted as saying.

Students will take part in morning meetings, online curriculum and sessions with teachers, speech therapists and tutors, Van Deinse said. Social events, field trips and STEM activities will also be offered, she said.

During the pandemic, the school said, the school’s students “excelled” at virtual learning. Additionally, the virtual school can also reach students in rural areas or small towns, the school said.

Arizona Autism Charter Schools started in 2014 as the state’s first tuition free charter school for students with autism. Founder and executive director Diana Diaz-Harrison created it for her son and students like him. The school’s main campus is in Phoenix.

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