For Emily Johnson, the most rewarding part of watching her daughter, Ellena, in Cedar Rapids Virtual Academy (CRVA) this year has been her improvement in communication skills.
“When I look at some of her email communication with teachers, it’s really forced her to be a good communicator,” says Johnson. “I’m most proud when I look at responses from her teachers about how impressed they are with her performance.”
Ellena enrolled in CRVA this school year because of the uncertainties of the pandemic. The experience has gone so well that they plan to keep her in the virtual academy next school year when she transitions to high school.
“Ellena’s ability to navigate everything this year and be self-sufficient in her education—every day I tell her how proud I am of her,” says Johnson. “It’s been a perfect match for us.”
An option for many students
Johnson describes her daughter as someone who is able to manage her own time well, making the self-led nature of CRVA compatible with her. The virtual academy is a strong fit for students in many other situations, as well.
“CRVA can be a good fit for students who haven’t had success in a traditional school setting for various reasons,” explains Kaitlin Finn, lead high school CRVA science teacher. “This almost gives them a reset.”
Some of those students may include those with various health needs, students who enjoy learning independently, and students who need a flexible schedule for other opportunities or family commitments.
Not all CRVA students necessarily struggle in a traditional classroom, and have found that the virtual academy setting is a suitable match.
“The biggest difference between CRVA and a traditional classroom is there’s one-on-one interaction with students, and that’s been very beneficial for kids,” says Finn. “Personally, I’ve enjoyed connecting with students in that way.”
Expansion to kindergarten through fifth grade
Beginning the 2021-22 school year, CRVA will be expanded to kindergarten through fifth grade. As is the case with all CRVA courses and classrooms, the elementary school classrooms will be led by Cedar Rapids Community School District teachers. The kindergarten through fifth grade curriculum is developed by CRCSD content teams, and is aligned to the Iowa Core Curriculum.
CRVA elementary school students will participate in daily synchronous learning—live learning sessions with a teacher and other students—in large and small group settings. This design will allow young students the opportunity to collaborate and build relationships with their peers. Asynchronous learning—time outside of live instruction—will be available to supplement student learning.
Ellena has only good things to say about her CRVA experience.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect this year changing into a virtual school,” she says. “But I really do feel that CRVA has helped me become more successful in school from home.”
Ready to enroll your student in CRVA?
Students who are not in Cedar Rapids Community School District have until Monday, March 1, 2021, to enroll in CRVA for next school year. Current CRCSD students may enroll in CRVA on an ongoing basis. More information about the enrollment process can be found here.