Iowa Virtual Academy seeks students for success

There’s a new way of learning in Iowa. It’s a twist on home schooling called Iowa Virtual Academy.

The charter school, hosted in Guttenberg, Iowa, uses curriculum from Virginia-based K12.

Open enrollment continues until March 1. For more information, check http://www.k12.com/iava/.

Most of us learn in a traditional classroom with a dedicated teacher. But for some students, this setting just doesn’t work.

That’s the dilemma facing Clinton mom Michelle Rodekamp, who is worried about her teenage daughter.

“I know we’re at a point now where it has to get turned around now, or she’s not going to be successful in the next two years graduating,” she said.

That success might come with the Iowa Virtual Academy. It’s an online, fully accredited charter school that replaces public education for some students.

“I feel like school choice is important to a lot of families,” said Jennifer Waterman, during a recruiting stop in Davenport on Wednesday. “A lot of families feel like maybe their student is not getting what they need in school.”

There’s no tuition for the Iowa Virtual Academy. That’s because participants direct their tax dollars to the charter school instead of their public school district.

The lesson plan blends online studies with a parent learning coach in the home. Nearly 200 Iowa  families are participating in its second year.

This program reaches out to underachievers and overachievers alike.

“Take a snapshot of that student and work with them on their learning capabilities,” said Waterman. “Each student is looked at individually.”

For those like Michelle’s daughter, this might be an option.

“I think that’s going to be our solution,” Rodekamp concluded. “Even though it’s going to be a home environment, I feel like it’s going to be a different environment.”

For the Rodekamps, a change of scenery that brings learning close to home.

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