LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Many students across the state are back in a classroom setting this week but that doesn’t look the same for everyone and that’s the case for students in the Arkansas Virtual Academy.

Amy Johnson is the head of the school, and she said what makes this school year different is they have a new educational hub in Little Rock.

“The learning Hub being able to open this space is really groundbreaking,” Johnson said. “We have not had a space like this before.”

Johnson said the academy started in 2003 but this is the first time they have a physical space.

“The hub provides opportunities for our students to meet each other, meet their teachers and have face-to-face conversations about their work,” Johnson said.

She said they have around 4,000 students from all over the state from K to 12th grade. She believes this new facility will help bring together two education ideas.

“You have the traditional education model and the virtual education model and the hub builds a bridge in between the two,” Johnson said.

First grade teacher Beth Moore says she believes the hub could help with professional development.

“Well this is a great place for us to have our professional development so we can come together as a whole school,” Moore said.

Moore said with the new facility, parts of her teaching could change to help students more on a face-to-face level. 

“Bring students in person so they can make connections with their students and their teachers.” Moore said. “Even with some tutoring, even working in small groups and projects together.”

Alissa Bynum said her two children have been going to the academy since 2020, and seeing the new hub is hopeful

“We really like it, it is a really neat environment for kids to learn,” Bynum said.

Johnson said with the hub they could also help students if they lose internet connection and the academy is tailored to the students’ needs.

“I think ARVA (Arkansas Virtual Academy) is unique because we really work to understand who are students are, to partner with our parents and really individualize each student’s experience,” Johnson said.