In a post-pandemic world, virtual learning continues to evolve as a meaningful option for a number of K-12 students.
Our BOCES’ Cooperative Virtual Learning Academy (CVLA) started last school year as a virtual option for K-12 students. The program is building on successes from its inaugural year by expanding the support it provides for the 2022-23 school year to offer K-12 students a fuller virtual learning experience.
Ransom Echtner attended the school’s inaugural year as a fourth-grade student to limit potential exposure to COVID-19.
“My first year was fun. I enjoyed meeting different kids from different schools,” said Echtner, who is a student from the Middleburgh Central School District. “I really like my teacher, Mrs. Paulsen.”
Echtner’s mother, Michelle, said the virtual school provided the right amount of structure for students to succeed.
“Ransom did very well because he is a kid who likes structure, and the school offered it. He was up and at school on time and really enjoyed it,” she said.
According to CVLA Executive Principal Carrie Sunkes, Ransom was one of about 400 students registered in the Capital Region BOCES’ Cooperative Virtual Learning Academy last school year. Last year, CVLA served about 275 elementary students and more than 100 middle and high school students through virtual classes taught during regular school hours.
An “Excellent Alternative” To The Traditional School Environment
This year, CVLA plans to serve districts across the Capital Region, including the Albany, South Colonie, North Colonie, Niskayuna and Middleburgh school districts.
The CVLA curriculum aligns with the New York State Learning Standards. CVLA students learn from New York state-certified teachers from participating school districts. Students participate in classes through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction via a series of online technologies, including Google Meet, Google Classroom, and Seesaw. Participating districts provide technical support and resources to each student enrolled in the virtual learning option.
Students in grades K-6 participate in a structured schedule that mirrors a traditional elementary program, including art, music, library and physical education within the virtual learning model. Students in grades 7-12 are provided with a more customized schedule designed to meet their individual learning needs.
Dave Perry, superintendent of the South Colonie Central School District, said the virtual academy is a valuable tool for students.
“CVLA is an excellent alternative to the traditional school environment. No matter the reason for attending CVLA, students will still be receiving a quality education,” he said.
Approximately 28 South Colonie students in the grades K-6 attended the virtual academy full-time last year, while another 25 students in grades 7-12 took part.
CVLA relies on school districts to provide NYS certified teachers for virtual learning. In the 2021-2022 school year, many districts contributed teachers to CVLA, with two elementary and 25 secondary teachers provided by the South Colonie Central School District.
“Establishing partnerships such as these to provide additional educational opportunities is beneficial to participating students and their families, the school community and the greater region,” Perry said.
Learn More About Our Cooperative Virtual Learning Academy
Teachers and students interested in enrolling in our Cooperative Virtual Learning Academy (CVLA) should contact their home school district to see if virtual learning is an option. Learn more about Capital Region BOCES’ Cooperative Virtual Learning Academy.