Nevada Learning Academy
Updated May 15, 2019
Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Nevada Learning Academy (NVLA) is an online secondary public school, providing online courses in grades 6–12 that helps expand students’ choices for courses they can take on their learning path. NVLA is a “minority majority” district with a student body that is representative of the county with 3% Native American, 27% Hispanic, 21% African American, 38% White, and 11% students reporting two or more races; and students are evenly divided as male/female. NVLA Middle School (MS) specifically is serving approximately 40 full-time students in the 2018–19 school year, with many more students enrolling in part-time concurrent courses.
NVLA’s hybrid model for MS requires that students are on campus two days per week for a full-day of direct instruction, where students attend classes and meet with their teachers. MS students attend school on Tuesdays and Thursday from 7:15am to 1:45pm, with a short lunch break. Principal Andrea Connolly says students live all over the Las Vegas valley, and transportation is provided by the Clark County School District or parents can select to bring them to school for the on-campus days. The rest of the students’ learning is done online. Originally the online courses were designed by the district, but recently, the courses were adapted by the teachers based on student feedback and learning data.
Lin Soriano, Assistant Principal for the MS, shares that in addition to coursework, teachers work with students on time management, using digital calendars, study skills, goal setting, and effective work habits. Soriano is proud of the school’s “5-Star” rating and says that students and families like the school’s high achievement focus and small class sizes. Students also get a full middle school experience with National Junior Honor Society and Student Council, as well as electives. Students are also able to play sports at their local residential zoned school, though many students attending the MS are involved in sports with travel teams and are drawn to the part-time onsite attendance option to create flexibility in their schedule to accommodate sports or other activities.
Teachers and staff are onsite at the school on Mondays and Fridays for ongoing training and professional development (PD), meetings, and to provide additional tutoring, learning support, remediation, tech support, and academic counseling to students. As part of their PD, teachers and staff have completed Quality Matters (QM) training and use the QM rubric to monitor program success. Webinars are also used for ongoing training specific to topics that are pressing for teachers. On Wednesdays, teachers work remotely to provide learning support. In addition to school leaders and teachers, the school has a counselor, a learning facilitator, and a special education teacher. Learning support involves parents and can take the form of a structured improvement plan if needed to guide success.
This profile was developed through correspondence with Andrea Connolly and Lin Soriano of Nevada Learning Academy Middle School and through the program’s website.