MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Teachers for an Alabama virtual learning program met in Madison Wednesday for the first time in three years.

The state-funded Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide (ACCESS) stepped up in popularity during the pandemic due to its offering of virtual classes that aren’t found in some rural or private schools.

Its North Alabama hub is based within Madison City Schools, and Wednesday morning it welcomed more than 100 teachers with plans to expand in the years to come.

“It’s 14 counties and all the districts within those counties,” said Madison City Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols. “We’re just part of that group, but I know that the staff at ACCESS is bringing teachers together, bringing ACCESS coordinators at the school-level together.”

“Everyone has to have computer skills,” said ACCESS Director Maria Kilgore. “Everyone has to be able to know how to do things online for their jobs in the future. So ACCESS gives them kind of a head start to work in a virtual setting [and] be successful.”

ACCESS has classes for grades 7th through 12th.

The program also looks to expand with more educators next year, adding courses for 6th grade.