Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bridges Virtual Academy a public school?
Yes. We are a public charter school operated under a contract with Merrill Area Public Schools.
What grade levels do you serve?
We serve students in Grades K4 through 12. Students from outside the Merrill area can only open-enroll to K4 if their home district also has a K4 program. Students entering into K4 must be 4 years old by September 1st of the upcoming school year. Students entering Kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 1st of the upcoming school year.
Are your teachers licensed?
Yes, BVA is a public, charter school. Each of our teachers are licensed Wisconsin teachers in the subject area(s) and grade level(s) they teach.
Is there a cost?
BVA is a public, state-wide charter school, so there is no tuition fee to attend. Curricular resources and technology are also provided for each student.
What technology do students need?
Each student is provided a laptop to access school work. Internet is required, and access can be supported through our Academic Enrichment process.
How is instruction delivered?
Instruction is delivered in a variety of ways and is dependent upon both the grade-level and individual needs of a student. Teachers meet with families each summer to develop an instructional plan or pathway for each individual student. This plan is developed from a combination of online resources, live teacher-led instruction, paper and pencil curricular options, project-based learning, teacher-led projects, and dual credit opportunities (secondary).
Is this school for "at risk" students?
While this is not the design or intention for the school, it possibly could be a successful situation for a student in this category. The student needs to be highly motivated to achieve success and take responsibility for academics. Only with this commitment and with the commitment of the parent to support active participation and regular communication is it possible that a credit-deficient high school student or a student identified as “at-risk” can be successful in BVA.
Do high school students earn a regular diploma?
When will the development of the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) take place?
Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) for students are developed in the spring (for current students) and summer prior to the start of the school year. At this time, students and parents meet with the assigned teacher(s) and develop the Individualized Learning Plan. The educational process is discussed and resources are selected to meet the specific needs of a student.
What curriculum do you use?
It is our belief that a "one-size-fits all" curriculum does not necessarily meet the needs of all students as students are not all at the same place academically. It is best to meet the student where they are academically and provide resources to support their growth. Therefore, we provide for a wide range of curricular and other resources to support individual student learning needs. Once students are officially enrolled in BVA, the parent will receive access to a website that contains a list of the approved curricular options by grade level. This will also include videos and written documents that provide an overview of grade level and program expectations. In conjunction with the student's teacher, parents are able to personalize curricular choices from the approved lists to support the expectations at their student's grade level. The curricular and supporting resource options vary by grade level and subject and include, but are not limited to: print books, online resources, virtual "teacher-led" instruction, project based learning and more. Please review our video overviews for a better understanding of program design: https://www.bvaedu.org/overview-of-bva
Can religious materials be purchased?
As a public school, we are not permitted to purchase religious materials. However, families are welcome to supplement student learning using religious materials, which they have purchased on their own.
How does the open enrollment process work?
Regular open enrollment is available from February until the end of April. Students applying to BVA from outside the Merrill school district (non-resident) will need to open-enroll during this time period. An Alternative Open Enrollment form would need to be filled out for requests occurring after the end of the regular open-enrollment period. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides the timeline and application process for the Alternative Open Enrollment process. For more information visit our Prospective Families area.
Is there a selection process for students who wish to enroll in BVA?
The enrollment limits are set each school year by the BVA Governance Board and administration based on the projected number of applicants and the space available for the school. Considering that BVA is a virtual school, the “space availability” is determined by the number of teachers on staff. The Bridges Virtual Academy Governance Board will determine the enrollment limits for before the open-enrollment period in February each year. If there are more applicants than spaces available, we will conduct a selection process in May to determine which students will be eligible to enroll. Preference will be given to siblings of currently enrolled students.
What happens if my resident school district denies my request to enroll in BVA?
See the Department of Public Instruction's webpage on open enrollment denials for the most up-to-date information on this question.
When and how will I be notified if my family has been accepted into BVA?
After the regular open-enrollment period ends, submitted applications will be reviewed at the district level. Non-resident applicants will be notified by the district in June whether or not an application was approved. If approved by the Merrill school district and subject to space availability at specific grade levels, approved non-resident applicants will be asked to confirm their intent to attend the Merrill school district and enroll in BVA. Once confirmed, BVA will then send the approved non-resident applicant a BVA Approved Student Enrollment Information form for the upcoming school year. This application must then be submitted in a timely manner to ensure that student's enrollment in BVA.