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
All teachers for the Wyoming Virtual Academy must be highly qualified, certified Wyoming teachers assigned to their area of certification. Every teacher receives initial professional development related to the delivery of distance education. That professional development is provided by K12, Inc.
Wyoming Virtual Academy requires all staff to participate in distance education staff development both prior to their initial teaching begins and throughout their teaching career with WYVA. This professional development is delivered via both on-site and through web-based communication. To accommodate the diverse learning styles of children, WYVA employs a variety of teaching strategies, including direct instruction, hands-on exploration, use of manipulatives, practice exercises, distributed review (reinforcement), threaded discussion, and group and individual projects.
The unique qualities of our learning environment require our teachers to utilize specialized online pedagogical techniques. In the area of teacher development we focus on the structure of the curriculum, the guiding principles, the utilization of technology that enhances instruction and communication, and the populations of the students we serve.
Student achievement sessions are focused on presenting instructional strategies within the K12 curriculum that need to be utilized in order to improve student achievement. Additionally we introduce the use of diagnostic methods to determine students’ needs based on available data in order to make use of the most effective internet-based methods of targeting the instructional support provided to each student.
Staff development plans are developed yearly and include both in-person and online training events. Online events are both synchronous and asynchronous in nature. Whenever possible, the same tools that teachers use with their students are used to train the teachers themselves. On-going professional development occurs through the year and is coupled with an active support system from K12, Inc. This support system provides on-demand support through the K12, Inc. web site.
Wyoming Virtual Academy teachers are expected to possess appropriate virtual communication skills in areas such as email, web-based (Elluminate Live), data management, telephone skills, and virtual classroom management. Feedback to student questions should occur with 24 hours of the inquiry. Teachers create additional instructional activities that are delivered either in person or through the web-based program (Elluminate Live). At the high school level, threaded discussions are used to allow students to interact through the sharing of ideas. Students also work on group projects to develop team-work and communication skills.
Method(s) of evaluation
Administrators frequently review the online gradebooks, student progress, and other student information in the student data management system. Formative and summative evaluations are conducted for each teacher by the WYVA administrator. Frequent staff meetings are held to keep teachers aware of instructional issues and concerns to the program.