"Hey, how are you today?” asks Savannah Babor’s math teacher, Kelly Shanahan.
“Good!” says Savannah with cheer in her voice.
“We’re going to do a lesson on fractions. Do you have your pizza pieces ready to go?” says Shanahan.
That’s not so remarkable until you find out that Shanahan is nearly 3 hours away.
Savannah attends a public charter school called The North Carolina Virtual Academy. Kids in 97 of the state’s 100 counties are enrolled in this system that teaches them over the internet – sometimes live, sometimes with recordings – for both kids like Savannah who have physical issues that make going to a brick-and-mortar school impractical or any kid looking for something different.
The school’s director, Joel Medley, says it allows for the home school feel, but with certified, experienced public school teachers doing the instruction.
“Families get the opportunity to get to know and understand what their children are learning on a daily basis,” says Medley.
That certainly appealed to Savannah’s mother, Megan.
“It’s really cool to have that moment where the lightbulb comes on where you see them really getting something,” says Megan. “Teachers see that all the time with these students that they work with but it’s really nice to see it when you’re sitting with your kid.”
The state regulates how many students the NCVA can have but it has increased the cap by more than 40 percent between 2014 and 2019, from 1,800 to nearly 2,600.
See how the school works in this edition of the Buckley Report.