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Wyoming Virtual Academy

A distance education program offered by Niobrara County School District #1

  • Website: www.k12.com/wyva
  • Enrollment: Fulltime K-12, Supplemental 9-12
  • Medium: Online, Correspondence, Interactive

Method(s) of course procurement

K¹², Inc. is the provider of all curriculum and course materials used by the Wyoming Virtual Academy. K¹², Inc. is based in Herndon, VA, and provides a full elementary, middle school, and high school program. Some courses are provided via a third party vendor but all of these courses are delivered through the K¹², Inc. instructional program. This curriculum is standards-based, traditional and developed under the guidance of John Holdren, former Vice President and Director of Research and Publications at the Core Knowledge Foundation, and co-editor of the Core Knowledge Series (What Your First [Second, Third, etc] Needs to Know). Elementary and middle school courses are built around big ideas that are sequentially developed at appropriate cognitive levels throughout the grade levels. Each lesson is designed to have the student build a solid foundation for future learning. Teacher monitors student progress and individualize the assignments to meet each students' needs.

The K¹² high school curriculum is built very differently than the K-8 courses, and with good reason. The K¹² online high school environment blends the best features of the world-renowned K-8 learning environment—the elegant and research-driven design, the compelling interactivity, the ease of use of both online and offline content—with key features designed to make the high school experience successful, given the far more complex high school world of content, skills, and time management. The K¹² high school program offers more than 100 core, elective, and Advanced Placement® (AP®) courses. K¹² Math, Language Arts, Science, and History courses are offered in multiple versions—Core, Comprehensive, Honors and AP (depending on the course)—to meet the needs of diverse learners with diverse goals. Up to four levels of World Languages are offered as well. Students can chart their own course, choosing from among the four levels of courses to match their aptitude and goals.

The K¹² Inc. program brings together the two critical component of a successful learning program: high quality curriculum and high quality teachers. The role of the teachers is to closely monitor student work and intervene when appropriate. Teachers frequently monitor student work and provide feedback and correctives as needed. They also communicate with students and parents (learning coaches) to verify the students' understanding of the content.

For home-based students, the K¹² Inc. program also includes providing the technology necessary for the students to fully participate in the program. Computers and printer/fax machines are provided to the home along with technical support from K12 Inc. All home-based and school-based students are provided with all the textbooks and resources necessary for a complete program. This includes science materials and equipment critical to a quality science program.

Course evaluation and improvement

Staff at K¹² Inc. is continuously involved in the evaluation and improvement of their educational program. Systems are in place for collecting feedback from teachers, parents, and students to identify any problems with the curriculum, instructional materials and assessments. Through performance results, survey responses, and direct online communication, the feedback from over 40,000 students, their parents and teachers is all monitored and addressed throughout the year. Due to the nature of the program, problems are often corrected immediately without having to wait until the next year or next printing of materials. The overall quality of courses is monitored through the level of student success. When the need is indicated by the evidence, courses are rewritten, reorganized or replaced.

The data from individual item responses to many online assessments are tracked electronically to monitor each question’s effectiveness in measuring student mastery of content. Questions which do not perform properly are modified or replaced.

High expectations are set for WYVA students. Course completion, grades, and other student feedback are monitored to identify areas of concern. Performance on PAWS is compared to course achievement to verify the appropriate rigor of the courses.