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Amidst COVID-19 surge, online school launches to give FL families tuition-free home learning choice

San Jose Cyber Academy is filling a distinct need in Northeast Florida counties by offering a tuition-free, public charter, home learning option. The Cyber Academy will offer choices for synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (independent) learning for K-5 students, and asynchronous learning for students in grades 6-12. Every student enrolled with San Jose Cyber Academy has ready access to a Florida-certified live instructor. 

San Jose Cyber Academy was approved by the Duval County School Board in May 2021, based on laws and processes set forth by the State of Florida and the Florida Department of Education for charter school operation. 

COVID-19 positivity rates shot above 15 percent statewide and 20 percent in Duval County this past week. That has made many parents understandably concerned about how to safely send their children back to school next month. Children under the age of 12 cannot yet receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and the vaccination rate in Florida among those 12 and older is significantly lower than what the CDC recommends. Controversy about whether there should be a mask mandate in Duval County Schools and surrounding districts for the 2021-22 school year adds to the angst that many families are experiencing. 

During 2020-21, Duval County students had the online option of Duval HomeRoom; however, that is no longer available as a temporary or permanent measure. Students from other Florida counties face similar concerns this new school year.

“At the San Jose Schools, we felt like this should not be an ‘all-or-nothing’ decision for families. San Jose Cyber Academy can be a short-term or long-term solution. Our education team was already experienced at implementing blended learning, so we are bringing all of the best practices to this endeavor,” says Alan Hall, Ed.D, CEO of the San Jose Schools. 

San Jose Cyber Academy will serve students in K-12. Parents of elementary-age students should expect to be a “guide on the side” during the learning process; however, they do not need to teach the coursework. Middle and high school students will be able to take advantage of Honors, Advanced Placement and Early College courses. 

Students who remain enrolled with San Jose Cyber Academy through graduation earn a Florida-approved high school diploma (18 or 24 credits). Students may also take advantage of dual enrollment with a college to earn an associate of arts degree while in high school.

“If San Jose Cyber Academy is a temporary option for families – maybe because of COVID-19 health concerns or other more temporary, personal needs – we have brick and mortar charter schools for students to return to in the coming months or years,” said Superintendent of San Jose Schools Ryan Rewey. “I like to think of it as offering a ‘small-school environment with large-school opportunities.’”

San Jose Schools also include the following brick-and-mortar charter schools: 

  • San Jose Prep is the A-rated middle-high school located in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville (grades 6-12). San Jose Prep has been in operation since 2013. The school has a 100-percent graduation rate. San Jose Prep offers Career Academies (career and technical education), industry certification, Early College, dual enrollment, the AP Capstone diploma, a sports program and award-winning clubs such as robotics and theater. The school is located in a new building at 4072 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257.
  • San Jose Primary serves grades K-5 on the same campus (different building). San Jose Primary is known for its use of Authentic Learning strategies, project-based learning and LEGO Education. San Jose Primary launched in 2020. Families’ re-commitment rate for enrollment in 2021 is approximately 95 percent. 

San Jose Cyber Academy and all charter schools under the umbrella name of “San Jose Schools” are managed by a Jacksonville-based nonprofit board of directors, River City Education Organization Inc. Florida families can request tuition-free enrollment and additional information about San Jose Cyber Academy at SanJoseCyber.org.