Utah Virtual Academy creates a free, public alternative for students

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MURRAY (ABC4 News) – Utah Virtual Academy is an online, public school that’s totally free to Utah students. For some, traditional schooling isn’t a good fit; UTVA aims to bridge that gap. 

Zoe Garcia is a junior headed for a career in business technologies. At 16, she’s already taking college classes. “I want to be able to be ready, to be set for the career that I want to have and you know, just be really prepared.”

Some choose UTVA because of a complicated health or family situation, and some like Zoe like the option of a faster, more self-directed model. Zoe said, “You get to broaden your spectrum and meet students from all over the state, it’s really cool to see how far our Utah virtual family extends.”

Jazzmynn Sallie graduated this year, a year early, and she says UTVA saved her from a harmful situation. “I was getting bullied actually, constantly, and it was hard for me to focus on my school work, my grades were horrible, so my mom and I decided that this was a better choice for me.”

UTVA functions mostly online, but students interact with teachers and other students on a daily basis, checking in via video chat or instant messaging. They are also welcome to come to the office in Murray for any in-person needs. 

Jessie Russell is a Credit Recovery Mentor; she explained, “We are real faces, and we do have real teachers, live classes, we are a public charter school so you get real credits and a regular high school diploma.”

UTVA serves about 1,000 high schoolers and about 1,000 students in K-8. 

Jazzmynn said, “Utah virtual academy has helped me so much in my life, they’ve helped me realize and understand and process and I’m very thankful for them.”

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