Missoula Online Academy celebrates second and final school year of K-12 instruction

Skylar Rispens

Teachers, students and their parents in the Missoula Online Academy celebrated the end of the school year with plenty of pizza, cornhole and bubbles to go around on Thursday at a party at Southside Lions Park.

The conclusion of their school year also marks the end of the online program being offered to K-5 students. Next year, the MOA will be operated through Washington Middle School for grades 7-8 and Willard Alternative High School for grades 9-12.

Missoula County Public Schools operated the online academy for students of all ages for two years amid the tumultuous COVID pandemic.

“Kids are having a great time just being kids,” said Ike Wallace, a teacher with the MOA. “A lot of classmates that they previously saw through a screen or teachers that they saw through a screen — they’re getting to connect with in person today. It’s really powerful and I think it’s been a really positive experience.”

Prior to the pandemic, Wallace taught at Rattlesnake Elementary. As a teacher, he appreciated the district’s continuation of online instruction because the in-person, traditional model wasn’t the right fit for every student or educator.

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