SPOKANE, Wash — With so many Washington school districts going fully online this school year, some families are considering making the switch to home school.
Bailey Bunke wants to support those families making this transition. So she created Hope Academy.
"(The academy) was kind of inspired by my neighbor," Bunke said. "We've been talking about the craziness that's going on and how school is going to look so different."
Bunke has about 10 years of experience in education.
She most recently taught the first grade at Willard Elementary. Before that, she worked in the Cheney School District as a behavior intervention specialist, much like a school counselor.
"I got to experience that first transition last year when we closed schools completely in the spring," Bunke said. "It was hard for the family to keep up on their kids' schooling."
With major changes in the upcoming school year, she has already seen quite a few parents consider home school instead of public instruction.
Bunke said one of Hope Academy's newest clients decided to home school out of caution for their child's well-being.
"The expectation to make them basically stay away from each other all day and to wear the mask is difficult for a parent of these ages to wrap their mind around," Bunke said. "They don't want to cause any trouble and they don't want their kid to get into any trouble."
Starting in the fall, Hope Academy will offer virtual or small group lessons at Bunke's learning center for Kindergarten through second grade levels.
"What I'm trying to do is create a Kindergarten group or coop, to where the kids can safely meet and experience a bit of that kindergarten while following guidelines, being healthy and safe," Bunke said.
She said at her learning center, she can control the environment to ensure it is safe for those in-person lessons.
"I am able to spend all the time I need to disinfect, to sanitize materials, manipulative's, everything - all surfaces," Bunke said.
The Hope Academy is a dream of Bunke's. But it's one she never thought would come to fruition out of such an unexpected need.
"I know a lot of parents are expressing anxiety over it," Bunke said. "If I can help in anyway of the academic realm of that, I would love to."