Why parents are increasingly looking to Louisiana’s top performing online school for Kindergarten through 5th grade
University View Academy serves approximately 2000 families with students enrolled in grades K-12 every year, from parishes throughout the state. The school opened six years ago as Louisiana Connections Academy and recently changed its name to emphasize its educational mission.
Superintendent Lonnie Luce recently announced that every 8th grader is allowed to enter an associate’s degree track and actually graduate with two years of college credit or an associates degree from a Louisiana community college under their belt—FOR FREE! It’s the first such program in the state and all of Louisiana’s 13 community colleges are participating.
Said Caprice Abed, who has two children attending, “Knowing I’m a part of my child’s education is just phenomenal…absolutely phenomenal. You are a key part of your child’s earliest learning experiences!”
At University View Academy, the at-home parent serves as the early learner’s Learning Coach. The parent or another designated adult guardian works closely with the UView elementary teacher to create a supportive learning environment. Teachers are responsible for the instruction —facilitating lessons, working through the curriculum and grading assignments—but Learning Coaches help the youngster grasp the material and develop necessary study skills.
“UView makes it such an absolutely positive and fulfilling experience,” says Abed. “The curriculum is so clear that it helps make the role of being a Learning Coach for your children very manageable.”
An online Elementary grade teacher at UView is specially trained in the nuances of teaching a early-grade student in an online setting. In a recent parent survey, 97 percent of parents reported satisfaction with the helpfulness of their online teachers and 93 percent of parents rate the teacher response time as excellent or good.
In the virtual classroom, teachers are able to create the same real-time, lively interactions of a traditional classroom, said Dr. Luce.
Tammy Morgan is a 4th and 5th grade Social Studies teacher who says her favorite part about teaching at University View is the ability to collaborate with other teachers as a team. “It allows us to provide our students with a unique opportunity to develop across all content areas." She said, nothing that for some students she’s worked as a team with their English Language Arts and Science/Math instructors.
“In fact, any of our parents and coaches actually get to see our love of teaching, watching our interacting with their student live and hearing during our live online lessons. It’s an experience you don’t necessarily get from a brick-and-mortar school."
A current schedule of such events can be found online at: www.UniversityView.Academy
Shelly Centanni, who coordinates enrollment information sessions, said sometimes parents consider an online public school because it allows them to better address a child’s health concerns, or maybe the flexibility of online school access allows the family to pursue arts, sports or travel schedules without interrupting schoolwork.
“The computer is a tool for parent and teacher to manage and track assignments, communicate and deliver interactive curricular materials. The young student will do most of the actual school work ‘unplugged,’ with textbooks and hands-on experiments UView provides—just like a traditional school would,” she said. UView actually provides each student a laptop and a stipend for their internet or satellite connection.
And much like their brick-and-mortar counterparts, UView school students of all ages have the same opportunities to interact with teachers and classmates. Aside from the online classroom, statewide field trips, school-sponsored events, clubs and activities offer an opportunity for students to forge friendships and connect face-to-face with their virtual school community.
“Our program is intentionally designed to embrace the life outside the classroom, and the flexibility of online learning allows families more time to pursue other social events and extra-curricular activities,” said Ms. Centanni. And for the high schoolers, there are the traditional proms and graduation exercise. This year’s was at the Baton Rouge Cane’s River Center.
But the school leaders stress that space is limited.
“We are really encouraging the parents of K-5 students in particular to start the enrollment process right now, either meeting us at a face-to-face information session, joining our ‘Ask a Parent’ club or calling us,” Ms. Centanni said.
ABOUT UNIVERSITY VIEW ACADEMY (formerly LOUISIANA CONNECTIONS ACADEMY)
University View Academy, formerly operating as Louisiana Connections Academy, is the state’s leading provider of high-quality, free public online charter schooling for grades K through 12. University View allows students to learn and excel at their own pace, with individualized instruction by Louisiana certified teachers, while offering families the support and flexibility they seek to fit their lifestyles. At University View Academy, students embrace technology, flourish through innovation, and seek empowerment to become their best self. As an online charter school, students access their lessons anytime, anywhere with a computer offered by the school. Accountability for meeting high academic student performance is monitored by University View Academy’s non-profit charter board, Wade Henderson, President. The school is headquartered at the Russell J. Henderson Building, 4664 Jamestown Avenue, but accepts students from any parish in the State of Louisiana.