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A late surge in demand overwhelms Colorado’s state-sponsored online school

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Colorado’s state-sponsored online school has been overwhelmed by demand as a diverse collection of districts turn to the nonprofit provider to serve students whose parents don’t want them in a classroom during the pandemic.

Colorado Digital Learning Solutions had to suspend registration just a few days after it opened last week to work through a backlog of requests, and the organization is scrambling to hire enough teachers to keep up. The online program has been asking schools for enrollment estimates since June, but demand ballooned in the last two weeks as parents finally made their decisions.

“It almost scares me when I look at this dashboard,” executive director Dan Morris said on Sunday as he worked through the weekend to catch up.

Designed as a supplemental service to help students in small districts access more specialized coursework, Colorado Digital Learning Solutions shifted gears over the summer to serve as the designated online school for districts that aren’t able to create their own programs, vet material, and train teachers to teach over a computer screen.

There are now 170 school districts and charter organizations representing roughly 300 schools working with Colorado Digital Learning Solutions, up from 125 last school year.






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