Learning With iAcademy


Reshma Sheikh, Staff Writer

In July, Gavin Newsom signed AB 130, which required all California schools to offer an independent study program to all students. However, CCUSD has been a step ahead and has offered an independent study program, iAcademy, for years now. It is entirely virtual and serves as an alternative to traditional, in-person school for all grades from K-12. Students have joined this program for various reasons, but it has recently seen a surge of new students due to COVID-19 implications. 

What does the program look like? There is one teacher in the program who meets with students weekly. During this meeting, the teacher assigns the students their school work, which they have to work on until the next appointment. All students are to work on their schoolwork daily, just as those in the in-person school setting. Those in TK to 3rd grade have the opportunity to engage in daily, synchronous instruction, which lasts about 15 to 30 minutes. Synchronous instruction may be in a classroom-style format, in small groups, or individually with the teacher. Those in 4th to 8th grade also have the opportunity of daily, live interaction and weekly synchronous instruction. The live interaction, which is about 10 to 20 minutes, is an interaction between the student and the teacher or student and peers, ultimately giving the feeling of connectedness. This interaction may be in-person or virtual. High schoolers also have the opportunity for weekly, synchronous instruction. 

What does the schoolwork look like? The schoolwork for each student is determined and assigned by the teacher during the weekly appointments. Students use online platforms for their schoolwork, and the platforms vary for each grade. Embark Online is used by TK, STRIDE K-12 is used by grades Kindergarten through 8th grade, and APEX is used by the high school. All students’ curriculum is aligned to standards, and no Spanish or Japanese immersion courses are offered. The subjects studied by each grade are also different: TK focuses on ELA, K-8 focus on ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies, and high schoolers focus on all subjects in the A-G requirements. AP and Honors classes are offered to high school students, but it has a limited number of subjects.

Students’ guardians are generally more present in the learning process for elementary school students and less present for secondary students. Most of the learning materials for secondary students are online, and elementary students have online materials alongside a Learning Coach Guide kit. 

iAcademy is a great resource for those who feel unsafe in returning to school or who want to get away from the traditional school setting. It also works for students who want to learn individually at their own pace. You can always find out more information by asking your counselors, teachers, or administrators.