ROWLAND HEIGHTS - The Rowland Unified School District could become the first in the state to operate an online high school through iQ Academy.
 
The virtual high school recently proposed a charter school model, where students would take courses online, to the Rowland School Board. 
 
\"The whole virtual and online world has taken off, particularly at the high school level,\" school board President Robert Hidalgo said. \"We want to stay ahead of the curve and not fall behind. I think we would be setting the tone for that type of experience in the San Gabriel Valley.\" 
 
The school board held a public hearing on the virtual school concept on June 18. They are expected to vote on it July 7. 
 
\"It\'s a very different learning setting,\" said Superintendent Maria Ott. \"A lot of us are used to the four walls of the classroom.\" 
 
Caprice Young is the CEO of KC Distance Learning, which provides courses for iQ Academy. 
 
Young said a partnership with Rowland Unified will create more alternatives for students. 
 
\"There are a number of students where the traditional school isn\'t always the best choice,\" Young said. \"Some students want to get ahead and classes aren\'t always available and other times they are catching up or need to get special individualized help.\" 
 
While iQ Academy would operate out of Rowland Heights, it would be open to any student in Los Angeles County and surrounding counties, including Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange.
 
Young\'s company currently operates virtual schools in Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Wisconsin, Texas, Washington and Kansas. 
 
Each student who enrolls in the academy is provided with a laptop and can take all their high school courses online or just a portion of them. 
 
There will also be centers available where students can come to get extra tutoring, officials said. 
 
The course work and text books are similar to those in traditional high schools. There is no required time to start \"school\" every day. 
 
\"That\'s the beauty. It\'s whenever the student wants it to happen,\" Young said. \"But they have to stay on pace. They can\'t sign up in September and jam all work into April.\" 
 
Students are still required to submit projects, do homework and take state-required tests at the end of the school year. 
 
There is also an online community where students can engage in conversations with other students as well as their teacher. 
 
\"We would hope to learn about the use of technology, and the platform they use,\" Ott said. \"We can learn from the work that they do.\" 
 
amanda.baumfeld@sgvn.com
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