A New Kind of School: Iowa Virtual Academy

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As technology for online schooling continues to evolve at lightning speed, it’s little wonder that, for many students, online learning represents a viable and increasingly popular alternative to brick-and-mortar schools.

In Iowa, parents have a number of options for their student’s education, including the Iowa Virtual Academy. A tuition-free, statewide program of the Clayton Ridge Community School District, Iowa Virtual Academy provides students in grades K-12 a high-quality alternative to the traditional learning experience through personalized instruction from state-certified teachers with award-winning curriculum.

Online schooling at Iowa Virtual Academy differs from traditional schools in that classes do not take place in a building, but rather at home, on the road, or wherever an Internet connection can be found. Students typically take courses online from their teachers via web classes, with added instruction by phone and e-mail, plus support from a parent or other responsible adult.

At the heart of the program is the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) which is designed to organize and properly sequence each student’s coursework while articulating his or her academic strengths and challenges. The ILP ensures each student understands every aspect of what they are learning. In the K-8 program, one teacher is typically assigned per student to direct the learning coach, monitor progress, and focus on each student’s ILP. In high school, a team of subject-specific teachers are assigned to each student and conduct online lectures and discussions, hold office hours, set and grade assignments, and assign grades.

Choosing online education doesn’t mean students sacrifice social opportunities. Iowa Virtual Academy provides regular opportunities for face-to-face socialization. Social events held throughout the school year include ice skating, outings to venues such as the Iowa Children’s Museum and Science Center of Iowa. In addition, the school offers activities such as 80+ virtual clubs, student government, dances, prom and graduation just like traditional schools.

Students are able to apply to Iowa Virtual Academy through the state Open Enrollment window which is taking place now through March 1, 2015.* Submitting an application doesn’t obligate a student to enroll; however, it does provide them the option to should they decide online learning is right for them.

To learn more about Iowa Virtual Academy, or to submit an Open Enrollment application, families are encouraged to contact the school at 855.652.3931 or to visit them online at www.K12.com/IAVA.

*March 1, 2015 deadline applies to grades 1-12. Kindergarten students have until September 1, 2015.Applications may be accepted after the March 1 deadline if the applicant meets one of the conditions specified in section 8 of the Open Enrollment application. Enrollment for the 2015–2016 school year is conditional upon renewal of the Charter in spring 2015.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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