Robbinsdale Virtual Academy Finds Positives in Pandemic
Transitioning back to in-person learning as the pandemic waned was seen as a good thing for students and teachers.
But some young people can thrive through online education, and in the Robbinsdale School District a virtual academy is providing that opportunity.
Close to 500 students in grades 3-12 are part of the Robbinsdale Virtual Academy.
“We found during the pandemic that there were a lot of students super successful learning online so we wanted to continue that,” said Sonja Western, a teacher from RVS.
For third, fourth and fifth graders, RVA uses a set schedule for lesson plans.
Middle and high school students get to set their own schedule.
“It helps with time management, and it helps you feel more responsible,” said Aubrie Pearson, a freshman at RVA.
Pearson enrolled in RVA last year. As a high-level gymnast, online learning allows her to balance education and athletics.
“I start practice at 1:30, so I would have to leave school early and then I would’ve had to go home and do the rest of my work,” Pearson said. “And so with online school, it’s all at my own pace and it’s more flexible with my schedule.”
RVA staff members says some students are homeless or struggling with mental health challenges. For some of these students, the online option provides a safe space.
“Some online schools are not necessarily looking at a whole student but are looking at just academics,” said Angie Senger, an RVA Advisor. “While here at RVA, we’re focused on community, on having relationships with students, with creating paths to success.”
And, contrary to the name, Robbinsdale Virtual Academy is not all virtual. The school offers walk-in Wednesdays for students to meet in person with teachers.
“When I’m doing just online, I fall behind on my work sometimes,” said Jacoby Collier, a 6th grader. “And I need to be in person so the teacher can see what I’m trying to understand.”
Students in the Robbinsdale Virtual Academy can still take part in any extracurricular activities offered in the district.
Related: Robbinsdale School District Expands Virtual Academy