Education no longer is the cookie cutter representation of a teacher droning on for 70 minutes while students copy down the lecture word for word. Education, like us, has evolved, and the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) at La Porte High School is a shining example of where it could be headed.
VLA is an online learning opportunity for students who are behind in credits, who would like to get ahead, or who just need a different learning environment. It also allows students to work at their own pace. This program is in its second year and is led by Director Janie Ulmer and assistants Allison Burke and Angela Klimczak.
“Traditional classrooms are working for many, but there are several students who need an alternative path. Environment, learning paths, and pacing are all factors that the individual learner may need to be academically successful,” Ulmer said.
This formula has led to unprecedented success, allowing students to earn over 405 credits in just 14 months. VLA has not just garnered attention from area educators and administrators. On November 6th, the VLA staff was awarded Edmentum Rock Star Award, a national award given to programs using technology in an innovative and successful manner. Only 11 schools in the country have received this prestigious honor.
“VLA is successful due to the collaborative efforts of all levels—central office, building administrators, counselors, teachers, parents, and, of course, students,” Ulmer said.
With a new lab and a dedicated team, there is no ceiling in sight for VLA. Kids, parents, and educators all have witnessed the power and potential of this program and see it as an invaluable asset to the La Porte Community School Corporation and beyond.
“I see VLA being an educational resource for students K-12, as well as adults, providing a variety of learning pathways to help learners of all ages reach their academic goals. I even see it allowing for access to college credits as well as professional development sessions for our community’s businesses,” Ulmer said.
The sky is the limit.