Online schools continue to grow in Texas

SAN ANTONIO – Local student Maren Romine, who spends many hours swimming, said online school was a perfect fit for her busy schedule. 
“It definitely helps me to know that like I don't have to be stressed about getting to bed at a good time because I have so much homework after coming back, you know, swimming in the morning, going to school all day, swimming at night and coming home,” Maren said. 
Due to her busy schedule, Maren’s family enrolled her in iUniversity Prep, an online public school established through Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. 
 Maren, 14, takes her courses online. 
“I do interact with some kids, like we use Google Hangouts or in class, we talk to each other through a chat pod,” Maren said. 
Maren’s mother works from home and said this online school not only allows Maren to go at her own pace but has taught her important life skills. 
“A lot of organizational skills and her self-management, as well as just continuing on your own self-motivation over time,” Cindi Romine, Maren’s mother, said. 
iUniversity Prep director of virtual learning Kaye Rogers said their online school helps students not only like Maren, who juggle sports and classes, but students with different situations.   
“Kiddos with some health struggles that they don’t want to sacrifice that education,” Rogers said. 
According to Rogers, when thee school opened in 2013, it had 250 students. This year, it will have around 975.
“Obviously, not everybody learns in the same way. So this is an option for kids that maybe traditional brick and mortar school isn’t working for them,” Cindi Romine said.

Another online school, Texas Online Prep, enrolled 2,900 students last year. Three years ago, the number of enrolled students at that school was 936.

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.