California Virtual Academies
|California Virtual Academy|
|2360 Shasta Way, Unit A
Simi Valley, California 93065
|Grades||Kindergarten - 12th grade|
California Virtual Academies (CAVA) is one of many virtual charter schools that is controlled by the curriculum provider K12 Inc. Although all public charter schools are not-for-profit, K12 is for profit. The academy, like most K12 Inc. supplied schools, loans the student textbooks, materials, and a computer so the student can access his/her online lessons.
The K-8 course lessons are on the K12 Online School (OLS). Parents are required to follow a board adopted school calendar, which includes 180 instructional days. The number of lessons completed each day can be adjusted under the facilitation of a credentialed teacher. However the student must have completed each core course (Math, English, Science, and Social Studies) to 90% or higher by the last day of school. Course lessons include online reading, sometimes followed by offline textbook work and then the lesson test, also called an assessment. The test consists of an online multiple choice quiz and/or a textbook quiz that has multiple choice and/or short answer questions. The offline textbook multiple choice and/or short answer questions are answered by the student, the answers are then graded with the teacher guide answer key book by the parent who enters the results into the online test. The online questions are then graded by the computer and the test grade is then displayed. At the end of the school day the parent records attendance on the OLS of what courses their student worked on that day and how much time they spent.As the student progresses into middle school as he/she becomes more independent, the curriculum is designed to allow the student to take more responsibility for his/her education, however, the parent is still needed to present the work for the day, review the completed work, and ensure mastery of the lesson.
The 9-12 course lessons are also provided by K12. CAVA high school is a good option for the extremely self-motivated student. Additionally, CAVA is a good option for student who would otherwise attend small rural schools that don't offer AP and other advanced classes. CAVA students are part of a large student body, but they rarely, if ever, meet any of the other students. The population is diverse of both race and culture, although like all online schools the population is more white than the general student body. It is also a good option for the challenged student who has huge parental support. The pass rate and test scores of the CAVA students is well below state averages. The assignments are graded either by the computer for the multiple choice questions or by the teacher for the short answer questions, the longer essays or papers, and the laboratory reports. Students can either do the word processing online or can print out the questions and answer them, scan them and submit the scans or doc files into a 'drop box.' Because each student receives their own set of lab equipment and unlike in a conventional classroom, the labs must be completed at home without help and are limited to inexpensive items that are almost completely safe.
The California Virtual Academy is considered virtual public school, not a home-school. Instead of the parent being the sole teacher, a state certified teacher is available to support the parent. There are many things the teacher does to support the parent; some of which include administering assignments, scheduling conferences, monitoring work, teaching online lessons to students, virtually meeting with the student to go over the lesson, and assessing if the student is meeting state standards for his/her grade level . The parent becomes a "Learning Coach". This is especially effective when the "learning coach" is a stay-at-home parent who is constantly involved in the learning process. In K-8, parents can sign their students up for virtual classes where students of the same grade all over the state come to the virtual class, listen to the teacher, and answer questions. These classes are run through virtual conferencing software called Elluminate Live. In 9-12, students are required to attend their classes online at the assigned time. Some students take advantage of live instruction, while others watch recordings of the lesson.  The teacher can set the response box so that only he or she can see the responses. Because of this, students don't have to worry about getting the answer wrong in front of the whole class; the only ones that would know that the answer was wrong would be the teacher and the student. Some classes have hundreds of students. Therefore, responses in those classes cannot be effectively monitored by a teacher. Some teachers offer extra credit words or phases in their lectures to try and entice students to watch the lecture. In grades 9-12, most class instruction is limited to about half an hour per week with the rest of the instruction a kind of self-paced homework. Towards the end of the year, the students are required to take the same state standardized test as a typical "brick and mortar" school.
- "K12 Sample Lessons".
- Template:Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2013: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/virtual-schools-annual-2013
- Template:Virtual School Profits Far Exceeding Performance http://neatoday.org/2013/05/17/virtual-schools-profits-far-exceeding-performance/
- "Lead & Manage my school - Evaluating Online Learning: Challenges and Strategies for Success". US Department of Education. July 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
3. Virtual School Profits Far Exceeding Performance <http://neatoday.org/2013/05/17/virtual-schools-profits-far-exceeding-performance/