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As a biracial student in a predominantly white community, fourth grader Dorthy Brooks, was a victim of severe bullying. Eventually, the bullying took its toll and she began struggling both in and out of school. She turned to online school when her grades dropped and she could no longer focus.

Dorthy’s dad, Conway, said she would come home from school crying several times a week due to the bullying. Eventually, her parents took matters into their own hands and went to the school. However, after the principal told them “nothing was wrong,” Dorthy’s parents knew that brick-and-mortar school was not the right place for their daughter. Dorthy’s mom, Alicia, began researching alternative options. That’s when they found Alabama Virtual Academy (ALVA).

Since switching to online school, Dorthy’s outlook has changed entirely. Conway says, “Dorthy is happier” in this environment. Online learning has allowed their family to customize Dorthy’s education, and with the help of state-certified teachers, ensures she gets the support she needs.

Although Dorthy excelled academically in traditional school, certain subjects were hard for her. Subjects like common core math would leave her stressed and crying. Now, “my dad helps me understand; before the teacher would just keep going,” she says.

Online learning has also allowed Dorthy to excel outside the classroom. As a two-time world champion country western ballroom dancer, Dorthy’s schedule is hectic. Conway says the brick-and-mortar school didn’t understand her competition and practice schedule and wouldn’t support her educational needs. With competitions around the country and a strict weekly practice schedule, online learning has allowed Dorthy and her family to take school wherever they go.

Since choosing the online learning route, Dorthy has grown and matured. “She now walks into a ballroom and has no fear,” her dad says. For the Brooks family, there is peace of mind in knowing online learning has allowed Dorthy to grow and prosper in a safe and educational environment customized for her.

To learn more about Alabama Virtual Academy, visit https://alva.k12.com/

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