ORANGE COUNTY, Florida — Learning in a classroom is not for everyone. Both Alyssa Raghu, 16, and Jada Simpson, 16, fall into that category, and both for very different reasons.

  • Teens Alyssa & Jada say traditional classroom not for them
  • More than 18,000 students taking virtual classes with OCPS
  • Virtual school helps them achieve career, education goals

“I wasn’t doing well in standard school,” Simpson said.

The teen couldn’t find her stride in a normal school setting.

“I didn’t work well sitting in a classroom for eight hours a day,” she added.

Raghu, on the other hand, found it challenging to attend at all.

“I am barely home, actually. It is good to see my room every once in a while,” Raghu said.

The young teen spends a lot of time in Los Angeles pursuing her singing career. She was actually a contestant on "American Idol" this year.

Both girls made the decision to enroll into Orange County Public School’s Virtual School program.

“In the last three years, we have seen drastic growth,” said Brandi Gurley, Orange County Virtual School Principal.

Gurley said in 2010, there were 150 students taught by four full-time teachers. In 2018, there are now more than 18,000 students taking virtual classes from more than 70 teachers.

“I tell them you have the flexibility to do your courses anytime, anywhere; you just don’t have the option not to work at all,” Gurley said.

For these girls, the virtual school system fits, allowing them to pursue a career or to accelerate their education.

“I think I want to be a doctor. I think I want to graduate early, go to UF, and go pre-med,” Simpson said.

“I want to be a superstar, and I think I can do that through Orange County virtual School,” Raghu said.