For a lot of families, online learning was a temporary fix to a public health emergency. But for my family, online school was not simply a short-term safe haven. I enrolled at Idaho Virtual Academy in first grade, when my parents saw that bullying at my previous school was a hinderance to my education. In IDVA, whether it was through completing schoolwork in a structured setting or making time for friends, my confidence grew and I learned the value of self-determination. For twelve years, I called Idaho Virtual Academy home, and benefitted in ways that still impact my life today.
Improved Mental Health
My teachers were incredibly supportive, and they genuinely cared about students, creating a safe and welcoming learning environment. My English teacher Misty Deitz encouraged both my academic and personal goals. During my sophomore year, I traveled to a dance competition, and Mrs. Deitz as well as my school counselor Jessica Lecertua, came to support me since I knew no one else in the area who was able to attend. Their support filled my heart with so much joy, and their legacy of kindness stuck with me years after graduation and motivated me to do my best and support others throughout my life.
Freedom to excel academically
The flexibility at IDVA allowed me to tackle my assignments and move quickly through content as I mastered it. The ability to thrive at my own pace meant I could move onto more challenging material and be placed in advanced classes. My teachers made me feel important; out of hundreds of teenagers, many classes, and their personal lives, they made every effort to make one teenage girl come out of her bubble and have confidence again.
Increased personal motivation
Online school set me up for success by getting me out of my comfort zone. Through the socialization opportunities IDVA offered, I engaged with other students and made friends. This helped me rebuild the poise that could have been taken away by bullies, instilling a confidence I have taken into the next chapter of my life.
I am thankful my family discovered a school environment that works best for me. I take that experience with me as I make personal connections with new people I meet daily. Thanks to my teachers, my family, and my own hard work, I learned how to thrive in school, becoming a well-rounded person in the workforce today.
To learn more about Idaho Virtual Academy, visit https://idva.k12.com/