By Lisa Czachowski, Tex.Org Contributor
The Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA) is a much talked about online school, designed to provide online learning opportunities for children from 3rd through 12th grade. The goal of this virtual academy is to offer children with the opportunity to learn in a manner that is most fitting for their own individual skills and preferences. Available to students across the state of Texas, this online academy has quickly become one of the most used virtual schools of its kind.
The Texas Virtual Academy is a charter school of the ResponsiveEd program. Together with K¹², this school works to help children across the state to access unique learning opportunities and access their full potential. The program was designed to provide learning opportunities for students who cannot attend or do not thrive in traditional educational establishments.
How the Academy Works
At the Texas Virtual Academy, students are able to learn from wherever they have an internet connection, whether its at home or on the road. During classroom sessions, teachers conduct daily lessons online, but the school also offers students with other physical materials and tools to help enhance the learning experience.
Students who attend this online academy will interact with one, or several teachers, all of whom are state-certified, and who will be in regular communication with their educators through e-mail, phone calls and through online meetings. There is no cost to attend the academy, as it is a public education system. However, students and their parents will be responsible for providing some materials, such as consumable tools, that students can use during class.
Once enrolled, students in the academy will receive a box of materials, designed to help supplement the online learning experience. Each student will receive a box with textbooks, videos, CDs and other tools and resources that can be used during class.
In order to meet the school’s attendance policy, students will need to log 1,080 hours of attendance during the school year. This equals approximately 30 hours per week.
The Texas Virtual Academy provides unique educational opportunities both for its 3-8 students and its online high school students. All of the curriculum for the institution was approved by the Texas Education Agency Virtual School Network and comes from K¹².
Curriculum For Grades 3-8
The curriculum designed for grades 3-8 was designed to help students find their own pace and learning styles that work best for them. This curriculum has six core subjects and more than 700 lessons per subject that are designed to help deliver young minds with the engaging curriculum they need to build a strong foundation for the future.
The school’s curriculum features the following core courses: English/Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, History and Music. Together they create a full time learning experience for students. The plans are also integrated to provide a more comprehensive overall learning experience.
High School Student Curriculum
The academy’s high school student curriculum is designed to help high school students discover their own future goals and their own path towards success after high school. The high school curriculum has a much more complex curriculum that helps callenge student skills, time management and overall content comprehension.
The curriculum is made up of the student’s choice in core, elective or honors courses. The three main core subjects of English, social sciences and Science are offered with three different versions; Comprehensive, Honors or AP.
Parental Support At the Academy
Since parents are an even more integral part of the learning process for students who attend online academies, the Texas Virtual Academy has special programs designed to help parents stay active in the school. At this school, parents or guardians are designated “learning coaches” for their children, and are responsible who helping to facilitate the learning process. They are responsible for tracking progress and making certain that the entire learning process is at a pace that meets the needs of each student.
The Texas Virtual Academy is a fully accredited public school that has received accreditation from both The Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Southern Association of College and Schools Council (SACS); which is an accreditation division of AdvancedEd.
The Southern Association of College and Schools Council only gives accreditation to educational institutions that meet its set of strict requirements and standards. The Texas Virtual Academy had to go through a detailed accreditation process that in turn validated this public school’s quality. The council conducts reviews from a collection of trained professional education evaluators that look at diploma eligibility and ease of transfer credit to other schools and to universities across the globe.
Reviews From Real Students and Parents
For students and parents considering the educational opportunities offered at the Texas Virtual Academy; there is no greater tool in determining potential success than hearing some of the past stories of those who have attended the school.
Misty, the mother of Gabe revealed “I never thought I could appreciate an online charter school as I do with the Texas Virtual Academy. The teachers are just amazing and work with Gabe one-on-one. His computer, printer and all his books and class materials arrived, and I have never seen him so excited to learn.”
Jennifer for Beaumont said “Our daughter Molly was able to focus on her studies in a positive environment and receive more one-on-one attention than she did in a traditional public school. Her grades are improving and she is happier than ever as she makes new friends through the schools countless community events.”
Christina, 14, from Houston says “I used to move around a lot and was always attending new public schools. When I would arrive at a new school I was usually ahead of my class, making it hard to focus on material I had already learned. Students made fun of me for being a nerd, and I was bored every day. Then I started using the Texas Virtual Academy and I am finally able to learn and take challenging classes. I just started my first AP class and couldn’t be more excited!”
Who is Eligible?
The Texas Virtual Academy is not a private institution, it is a state-run public school designed for grades 3-12. Most students living in the state of Texas will qualify to be accepted into the school. There are several different school districts throughout the state of Texas that currently qualify for enrollment into the institution. There are even more districts that are currently pending approval.
The Texas Virtual Academy is available to most students from the state of Texas who qualify. The Texas Virtual Academy serves all students, even homeless children in the area. Even children of homeless individuals, with no permanent address will be able to access the same free, public education through the virtual academy that any student can. This is part of the McKinney Act of 1982.
Enrolling in the Texas Virtual Academy
Depending on current school capacity, most students living in the approved districts will qualify for enrollment, with the exact enrollment process detailed for any parent or student interested in attending this virtual academy. Students are able to enroll by contacting the school directly at 866-360-0161. There are also online live chat support professionals standing by to help with the enrollment process.
Applications must be sent in before the school year every year, for those looking to take advantage of this school’s unique educational opportunities.