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D.C.’s only fully virtual charter school saw an enrollment spike. So did schools across the country.

Washington, DC’s only virtual public charter school, Friendship Online Academy, saw enrollment nearly double from last school year.  More than 660 students are now enrolled and school leaders say applications for next school year indicate that number could be even higher in 2022-2023. Friendship Online Academy’s growth, and the growth of other D.C. charters reflects a broader national trend. According to a report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, online charters are driving growth in states around the country.  

Education leaders observed that the pandemic has highlighted that parents want more choice and voice in how schools are run, which public charter schools provide. “The growth has been pretty phenomenal,” said Patrica Brantley, chief executive of the Friendship Public Charter network. “Families want this as an option.”

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