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FAQs:  Elementary Program

Bridges Virtual Academy’s elementary program spans K4-5th grade. Each year is structured in a slightly different manner with additional rigor added as student skills and abilities are developed. Families work with a student’s advisory teacher to develop an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP), where curriculum and resources are tailored from our approved resources to meet the needs of each student in each subject area. ​

K4-2nd Grade Band: In the K4/K level, our program supports student exploration and discovery of new concepts and ideas; 1st and 2nd grade students have more teacher-directed opportunities including live (virtual) supplemental class options.

 

3rd-5th Grade Band: Students have up to 3 different instructional pathways to select from in each subject-area to tailor their learning experiences. This level includes increased live class options.

WHAT BVA PARENTS ARE SAYING...

The 3-5 team of teachers truly are  master teachers. Their classroom management coupled with their care in preparing and planning classes inspires their students to learning, wonder, and joy in academics. Obviously they teach the content that is necessary but do so without making it dry or rote. They use a plethora of different creative platforms and activities to make the content interesting and inspiring. All 3-5 teachers are readily available to their students and their families.​ With varying levels of learning in their classrooms they are careful to give the scaffolding necessary to students who are struggling while at the same time raising the bar for those students who require inspiration to reach their potential. They have clear expectations for the classroom and for the work that they want their students to do. This creates a culture of safety and security for the students.

The overarching goal of our elementary program is to to build foundational skills for future learning, and to instill students with a love of learning.

Benefits of the elementary program include...

 Academics, Community-Building, Technology, Learning Resources:

  • Advisory teacher assigned to your family to teach and guide students across multiple years--siblings work with the same advisor within a grade band

  • A variety of pre-approved curricular options--print and digital

  • Online program support in reading and math

  • Streamlined parent communication processes using multiple tools

  • Community building/engagement opportunities for 1st - 5th grade students

  • Family-friendly  events organized throughout the state

  • Extracurricular learning opportunities funded through the Academic Enrichment process

  • Laptop for each student and iPad for each K4-8 family, in addition to other at-home print resources

 

Watch the videos and review the blue box of Frequently Asked Questions below to understand how our program looks in action.

          The teachers at BVA are wonderful and encouraging. They really help the kids thrive! They also provide support such as for struggling readers or children who may need extra help. For grades 4K-5 grade the options for learning in a variety of ways with different teacher and parent led options for each month is phenomenal. There are so many fun ways parents can teach their kids with the full support of teachers...    >>> BVA Parent

K4-2 Program "At a Glance"

Pencil and notepad

Click HERE to download the PDF

3-5 Program "At a Glance"

Notebook

Click HERE to download the PDF

  • 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 K4 (aka 4K or Preschool), Kindergarten, and 1st grade through 12th grade. 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. You can find more information about the specific grade levels on the FAQ pages for Elementary, Middle School, and High School.
  • 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).
  • What curriculum do you use?
    We have a wide variety of curricular choice options. Families will receive access to BVA’s ILP website once they are officially enrolled in the program. The ILP website contains a list of the approved curricular options by grade-level, and it also includes videos & written documents that give an overview of the program expectations. Families are able to personalize curricular choices from these approved lists. Since we are a K4-12 school, the choices vary by grade-level; options often include print books, online options, virtual-teacher-led instruction, project-based learning and more. Our program focus connects student learning to state and national standards through student demonstration. We have found that instead of a one-size fits all curriculum, it is best to meet a student where they are at academically and provide the curricular resources to support student growth. Please review our video overviews on our Prospective Families page for further understanding of program design.
  • 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.
  • Is my student required to log in at the same time every day?
    Student participation is individualized to students according to subject area and the course delivery format selected. Depending on the chosen curriculum students may or may not have set times for meeting. At the K4-2 level, there are no required weekly class options. At the 3rd grade level and up, students may have choices between set meeting time classes and/or asynchronous learning opportunities. Seminar classes are live and synchronous. Students enrolled in these classes are required to attend at the scheduled times. At the MS/HS level, seminar classes occur Monday through Thursday. Fridays are dedicated to Homework Help time for students to work with teachers, in addition to optional Student Community Building virtual events and independent academic enrichment.
  • Do students have to sit in front of a computer all day?
    No. The amount of screen time will vary per student depending upon curricular choice and course selection. BVA courses are delivered in multiple formats, and the format selected will determine the required amount of screen time. Students and teachers utilize a variety of curricular options. These include both digital and print resources. See the answers to “How is instruction delivered?” and “What curriculum do you use?” from the questions above for more specific details.
  • Does BVA support students with IEPs, 504s and/or learning challenges?
    Yes, BVA provides support for students with disabilities as required by law.
  • 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.
  • How does an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) come together?
    Once a student is enrolled with BVA, families get access to BVA’s ILP website that includes all the approved curriculum options, courses, schedules, etc. Families complete documents on the website to make the initial selections of materials and courses that would best suit their student. Once selected, they will complete a form to notify the student’s advisory teacher they are ready to meet. Each family will meet individually with a teacher to finalize curriculum choices, order materials and address unanswered questions. Once the ILP meeting has occurred, students will begin receiving curriculum resources and technology via the mail.
  • What is the role of the Advisory Teacher?
    Every student in BVA is assigned an advisory teacher. The advisory teacher is the primary point of contact for families and students for school communication, questions, ILP planning, community building, etc. Advisory teachers are assigned by grade band and students remain with the same advisory teacher while within a grade band. Depending on the grade-level and the ILP subject learning selections, students will have classes taught by subject-area teachers.
  • Do high school students earn a regular diploma?
    Yes. BVA is a Public Charter School and all students have to meet the state requirements, in addition to the BVA Governance Board graduation requirements. The diploma earned from BVA carries the same weight as a high school diploma from Wisconsin public school.
  • What are the graduation requirements for high school students?
    High school students enrolled in Bridges Virtual Academy are required to complete coursework in the following subject areas: English: 4 credits (8 semesters) Social Studies: 3 credits (6 semesters to include one semester of US Government and civics exam) Science: 3 credits (6 semesters to include a minimum of 1 life science and 1 physical science) Math: 3 credits (6 semesters) Health: .5 credit (1 semester) Physical Education: 1.5 credits (3 semesters) - required during 3 of 4 years Personal Finance: .5 credit (1 semester) - required starting with the class of 2028 Elective courses: 8.5 credits (17 semesters) Note: Beginning with the class of 2028, only 8 credits (16 semesters) will be required. Students in grades 9 -11 are required to be enrolled in 6 credits per year. Students in grade 12 are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 5 credits per year. BVA does not accept part time enrollment. Students will be required to earn at least 23.5 total credits and/or demonstrate equivalent competencies in all subject areas listed to satisfy graduation requirements.
  • Can my student play sports in their local school or at Merrill High School?
    High school students attending Bridges Virtual Academy are not able to participate in high school level sports at their local school or for Merrill High School. Some districts may allow BVA students to participate in middle school sports or activities but it is at the discretion of the district or school (not BVA). Please see our Student/Parent Handbook for specifics.
  • 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 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, applications will be reviewed at the district level. Applicants will be notified with approval decisions by the end of June. Parents will then be asked to provide confirmation of their student’s enrollment in BVA. Once confirmed, you will receive an email from the BVA office sharing the online registration form and further instructions on how to plan for the ILP meeting with your student’s assigned advisory teacher.
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