CCUSD Creates Online "iAcademy"
Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) has a new school, known as CCUSD iAcademy, that offers a solution to the educational dilemma that “one size doesn’t fit all.”
The CCUSD iAcademy is an online school, with a different structure, learning philosophy, and academic emphasis for different student needs while honoring the unique needs of the community. Its goal is to serve students in grades K-12, offering both a full-time program and supplemental instruction.
Principal Veronica Montes and lead teacher Allison Pryharski answered some questions the Observer had about how the iAcademy works:
Q: Is this new academy what other school districts would term an "alternative school" like Santa Monica's SMASH? Can you describe the curriculum and aims specifically?
A: The iAcademy is Culver City Unified School District’s newest public school offering a full common core aligned curriculum using a non-traditional instructional delivery method for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. It is an “alternative” choice to the comprehensive brick and mortar schools. iAcademy can meet the needs of families who want to home school their children, students who need a full-time online option, students who want to take advanced course work and/or make up failed courses, and students who need more time to complete subjects that are more difficult for them.
Q: How will the structure of classes differ from a regular school?
A: The iAcademy is a public school that offers a different delivery system. Classes are offered online with weekly meetings with credentialed Culver City teachers. Students are able to progress at their own pace which allows them to move quickly through material they already know and spend more time in areas where they need more help. Assessments are built in throughout the courses for students to demonstrate mastery. Students have the flexibility to work on and complete one or several classes at a time. They are not restricted by the typical course load or normal quarter, trimester, or semester terms. Students are able to take classes even if they are the one student wanting a particular class.
Q: Can students can attend on-site classes and also study online?
A: Students have been able to utilize a variety of combinations that best meet their needs. Full time iAcademy students use all online courses but can schedule time to come in for on-site support depending on their needs for each class. Some high school students utilize a blended model with a mixture of online classes, classes at the high school, and/or independent study classes.
Q: What students are qualified to attend this school?
A: The iAcademy is a public school of choice. All students for whom independent study is an appropriate educational setting are qualified to participate in the iAcademy. Students who do best are those who are motivated, eager for the challenge of working independently, have strong parental support, and who know when to ask for help.
Q: What is the role of parents with this kind of school?
A: Parent support is vital to the success of each student. In kindergarten through fifth grade, the parent has the active role of learning coach. They are given the necessary curriculum, support, and flexibility to home-school their children. Middle and high school students are more independent with a majority of their coursework online. All students and parents receive feedback and support from our teachers.
Q: What unique classes are offered?
A: The catalogue of classes is extensive and includes core and elective options. We are able to offer Advanced Placement, standard, and credit recovery courses as well as five World Languages.
Q: What does "iAcademy" mean?
A:The i is for internet, indicating that the students access the curriculum online.