What is Launch Academy?
Launch Academy is an Independent Study program using a blended learning pedagogical approach designed for the student and family that wants a flexible program that maximizes choice. It will be open to any 7 – 12 grade student that wants their education primarily via online. It will include Choice, Flexibility, Personalized Learning, Online and On-Site Activities, Certified Teachers, Engaging Curriculum, Access to On-Site enrichment programs (eventually) including Sports, Visual and Performing Arts, and STEAM.
What are the differences between Sweetwater Distance Learning and Launch Academy?
Launch Academy will be an independent study program where student attendance is based on work completion, not seat time. There will be some teacher instruction and student collaboration, but less than the regular campus. Distance Learning will be a traditional classroom approach with required synchronous sessions. Furthermore, Distance Learning has the stated intent of getting back on campus as soon as conditions allow and safety protocols are in place. Launch Academy will continue as an online option well after COVID-19 is under control. If your only interest in pursuing Launch Academy is to avoid health concerns, than Distance Learning is probably the appropriate placement as safety will be our primary concern for all Sweetwater students.
Who may attend Launch Academy?
Any student in grades 7-12 who lives within Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) boundaries
Any student in grades 7-12 who lives outside SUHSD boundaries but obtains an inter-district transfer permit from their current district office.
Can my child attend Launch Academy if they have an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?
Yes. Launch Academy is a self-paced independent study program. Before registering with Launch Academy you should contact your current school psychologist and case manager to discuss if this is the best option to deliver the services that are outlined in your child’s IEP.
When does Launch Academy begin?
August 3rd, 2020
Can students go back to their home school for any reason?
We are asking families to make a one-year commitment to Launch Academy.
Are any costs associated with joining Launch Academy?
No, Launch Academy is a free public option within the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD).
What are the responsibilities of a Launch Academy student?
Launch Academy middle and high school students have a disposition for independent (and guided) learning. They need to devote a minimum of 30 hours per week to their education and be comfortable in a blended learning environment; Online and Off-line.
*It is highly suggested for parents to identify a location at home for their students to conduct all their academic work.
What role do parents play in Launch Academy?
Parents play an important role in an independent study program such as Launch Academy. We will develop a partnership between the Launch Academy staff and your family. Parents need to make sure their children have space and time to study and maintain a schedule of school and extracurricular activities. We will provide support and guidance to families and a platform for families to connect and support one another in their educational journey.
What is the expertise of Launch Academy teachers?
Teachers are being selected based on the following criteria: 1) Demonstrate skill in online content delivery, 2) Integrate Social emotional Learning into pedagogy and demonstrate responsiveness to student needs, 3) Integrate available technology tools into online instruction, 4) Works well with other team members, 5) Creative presentation of content, 6) Logical and Explicit organization of content, 7) Demonstrate ability to design quality online lessons and curriculum.
Will Launch Academy teachers exclusively teach with Launch Academy or may they also teach at a regular SUHSD school concurrently?
We are hiring 10 full time teachers exclusively for Launch Academy. It’s possible that teachers from Sweetwater schools can also serve temporary roles delivering individual courses through Launch Academy. This will be based on student need and designed in cooperation with Sweetwater schools.
Are there class size limits for Launch Academy teachers?
There are limits to the number of students each teacher can serve, which translates to an average class size of 35.
What is the student-teacher ratio?
We will be staffing at the same ratio as all SUHSD schools, which is 28:1 student to teacher ratio.
Do I have access to a school counselor?
We are hiring one full time counselor to address academic and non-academic needs including social-emotional learning.
What type of administrative support will students have?
Launch Academy will have co-administrators overseeing the program at the outset.
What additional systems of academic support do I have access to?
Resources will be provided based on the requirements of each course ranging from physical textbooks and workbooks to online resources. In addition, Launch Academy students will be provided (if requested) with an electronic device (iPAD or Laptop) to complete their academic requirements. In addition, Launch Academy will offer a system of additional time (office hours, online tutoring sessions, etc.) to assist students.
What is the curriculum that will be used?
Initially, Launch academy will be using APEX Learning courses, which are digital courses from a company that has been used in Sweetwater and across the country for online learning. By Year Two we plan to transition to Sweetwater designed online courses.
What courses are being offered via Launch Academy?
Click HERE to see a tentative course list (subject to change).
Will these students be provided a device?
If your student already has a Sweetwater provided device, that device can be used. Also, students that have a device that meets certain criteria are encouraged to use their own device. Nevertheless, any student who does not fit either of the above situations, will be provided a device.
Will the online academy compare in quality to virtual high schools that are established?
The Launch Academy is a startup program with a vision to serve the needs of families who are choosing an independent study program. We have an enthusiastic and passionate committee of teachers and administrators who have been discussing this option for some time. Also, we are designing regular check-ins with families through satisfaction surveys and outcome data to analyze our progress and make changes for continuous improvement based on these factors with special attention to student and parent voice.
Are Launch Academy students part of “Compact for Success”? *New
Launch Academy students continue to be Sweetwater Union HSD students, consequently they are part of “Compact for Success”, so long as they are continuously enrolled in the Sweetwater District from 9th grade. You can learn more details about the requirements of “Compact for Success” at http://ccr.sweetwaterschools.org/compact-for-success/
Does Launch Academy support the dual immersion program? *New
At this time, the academy won’t offer Dual Immersion courses.
If I’m interested, what are the next steps?
You can call us 619-796-7624 for more information. The office is open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
If you would like to be added to the Waiting list, please fill out THIS FORM