Las Vegas family of Nevada Virtual Academy shares experience with online learning

Originally aired on KVVU-TV – July 28, 2020

As schools across the Clark County School District scramble to switch to online learning, there’s one public school in Nevada that isn’t nearly as affected by the pandemic: Nevada Virtual Academy (NVVA).

It’s a tuition-free K-12 online public school with standardized curriculums and state-certified teachers. 

The Croswhite family said they chose it because of the curriculum and flexible learning schedule. 

“We’ve done school at national parks we done it actually in a cave. We’ve done school at Starbucks at McDonald’s, at the library in a hotel. I mean different states,” said Kathleen Croswhite. 

When the family isn’t learning while traveling, Kathleen’s daughter Rebecca has a designated desk and distraction-free area at home. 

She started NVVA in kindergarten. Her older sister who’s now studying at UNLV went there too. 

“At first it was difficult to get you do yours, she’ll do hers so we started doing lessons together. That was a big one that helped up,” said Kathleen. 

Rebecca is heading into 11th grade. She said she’s loved her online school experience.

“I think there might be like stigma around it being “homeschool” but it’s not home-school I still have teachers,” she said. 

She takes core classes and electives. Just like CCSD this year, some of her classes require live instruction through the computer so she sees her teachers every week.

Rebecca said the biggest challenge for most online students is time management.

“You are expected to be more responsible because there is not a teacher who’s walking by your desk every five minutes,” said Rebecca. 

About 1800 students enrolled at NVVA last year. Rebecca and Kathleen said each family has to find what works best for them.

“If you need to take your lunch break after your morning class connects that are live do that, and then come back to your work,” said Rebecca. 

“It helps to have like a family calendar even if its just a weekly printout and we’ll put it on the refrigerator so we’ll see okay, we have to be absolutely quiet from 9 a.m. to 12 noon because there’s class time,” said Kathleen. 

Kathleen stays at home, so childcare isn’t an issue but for CCSD parents rearranging their schedules to make it work she said now they’ll get to be around for the “aha moments.” 

Another concern for some CCSD parents is about the lack of social interaction with virtual school.

Rebecca said she’s been part of school-based organizations, girl scouts and youth groups. 

Those are all on hold during the pandemic but Kathleen suggests getting groups of students together through Facebook or zoom so they can motivate each other and do their homework together virtually.

To learn more about Nevada Virtual Academy visit https://nvva.k12.com/.

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