Vermont's 1st virtual Catholic school in the works - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont's 1st virtual Catholic school in the works

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Leland Gazo goes to Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington and appreciates the Catholic school experience.

"My two years at a public school compared to a Catholic institution like Rice, the one thing I noticed-- the kids seem to be more connected," said Gazo, a senior.

Members of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington say they want to increase the number of students in Catholic school in Vermont, but Bishop Christopher Coyne says options for kids in rural areas can be slim. High school students would have to travel to either Rice in South Burlington or Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Rutland to attend Catholic high school.

"Trying to be innovative through things like a digital school, online schools, digital Catholic high school, which is coming into play soon," Coyne said.

The state's first online Catholic school is now in the works. Sister Laura DellaSanta, the superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Burlington, says the Archdiocese of Miami successfully started an online Catholic academy and Vermont's will follow the same model.

"We can get started with a combination of our own curriculum with our present high school faculty in Rice and MSJ," DellaSanta said.

Administrators plan to set up four hubs around the state so students can get one day a week of classroom instruction without having to travel more than an hour to get there. The diocese members organizing the digital school say it has the potential to be available to thousands of students if need be.

Gazo hopes this will get more people into the Catholic spirit.

"This almost brothership relationship between the students," he said.

The details are still being worked out, but administrators hope students can start digital Catholic school next fall.

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