What is Launch Academy?
Launch Virtual 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 is open to any 7th – 12th grade student that wants their education primarily via online. It provides Choice, Flexibility, Personalized Learning, Online and On-Site Activities, Certified Teachers, Engaging Curriculum, Access to On-Site enrichment programs (as conditions allow and safety protocols are in place) including Sports, Visual and Performing Arts, Career Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).
What are the differences between Sweetwater Distance Learning (Pandemic) and Launch Academy Online System?
Launch Academy online system is not Distance Learning. Launch Academy is an independent study program where student attendance is based on satisfactory course (work) completion, not seat time. There is teacher online instruction (LIVE Academic Sessions) and student collaboration, but less frequent than what students experienced during Distance learning. In regular school the teacher paces the class for all students to be on the same curriculum topics. At Launch Academy students have access to the course content 24/7 and can move faster through the curriculum than regular school. Students at Launch move independently through the course content while teacher monitors, evaluates, and provides support. Launch offers personalized and flexible education for each student.
Who may attend Launch Academy?
Any student in grades 7th-12ht who lives within Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) boundaries.
Any student in grades 7th-12th who lives outside SUHSD boundaries but obtains an inter-district transfer permit from their current district office.
How many classes students take concurrently?
We operate on a quarter system. Each quarter is about 9 weeks. Each quarter students take 3 classes (credits). Each quarter class is equivalent to a semester-based class at a comprehensive school. For example a 7th grade student could take the following classes during first quarter; English 7A, Physical Education 7A, and World Cultures 7A. Then on following quarter, the same student would take English 7B, Physical Education 7B, and World Cultures 7B. Consequently, by the end of first semester the student would have completed 3 year-long equivalent courses.
Can a student enroll in Launch for a couple of months and return to a comprehensive school?
It is possible. However, since Launch Academy functions on a quarter system where students take three classes at-a-time, students could be off-track as compared with a comprehensive school. We highly encourage that students that enroll in Launch complete a full school year with us. Our goal is that each student enrolled at Launch will end the school year with at least the same quantity of classes (and credits) as if the student were to be enrolled at a comprehensive school. It is also possible that the student could finish the school year with more credits (accelerate).
Can my child attend Launch Virtual Academy if they have special needs (IEP / 504 Plan)?
Yes. Launch Academy is a self-paced independent study program. Before registering with Launch Academy, students with special needs including Individualized Education Program (IEP) and/or 504 Plan should contact your current school’s psychologist and case manager to discuss if this is the best option to deliver the services that are outlined in your child’s IEP/504 Plan.
Are any costs associated with joining Launch Virtual Academy?
No, Launch Academy is a free public option within the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD).
What are the responsibilities of a Launch Virtual 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.
What role do parents play in Launch Virtual Academy?
Parents play an important role in an independent study program such as Launch Academy. A partnership between Launch Academy staff and your family is important. 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 Virtual Academy teachers?
Teachers have been 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.
What is the student-teacher ratio?
Staffing at Launch has the same ratio as all SUHSD schools, which is 28:1 student to teacher ratio.
Do I have access to a school counselor?
Students at Launch have access to counseling services that can address academic and non-academic needs including social-emotional health. Click HERE to know our Counseling Team.
What type of administrative support will students have?
Launch Academy has a full time Principal and an Assistant Principal overseeing the program.
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 & free of charge) with an electronic device (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?
Launch academy utilizes APEX Learning, which provides students’ access to digital courses for self-paced online learning.
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?
Launch Academy is a Free Public Education option 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.
Are Launch Academy students part of “Compact for Success”?
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/
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. And/Or you can attend an Informational session to learn more about the school by completing the following form: Launch Virtual Academy Interest Form