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News

Apr 03

Free Student Poetry Contest

General

April is Poetry Month and The American Library of Poetry is celebrating with a National Student Poetry Contest. In addition to a $500 grand prize, they will be awarding several cash prizes in each grade division, including random drawings for one of 10 gift cards, a "School's Out" shopping spree, a new laptop computer, tablet or iPod Touch. ...read more

Apr 01

Math Awareness Month

Education

Did you know that April is Mathematics Awareness Month? We’re going to follow along with this year’s Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery campaign all month long. ...read more

Mar 18

Office 365 Comes to CVA

Announcements

We are pleased to announce that Microsoft Office 365 is now available for free to CVA staff and students!  ...read more

Mar 14

Women's History Month Spotlight: Jane Goodall

Education

In July 1960, at the age of 26, Jane Goodall traveled from England to what is now Tanzania and bravely entered the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. ...read more

Mar 01

Women’s History Month

Education

March is Women’s History Month. You can learn all about this celebration here. This month we’ll be sharing lots of great resources daily on our Facebook and Twitter streams. To get us started we’d like to share a great resource from the National Women’s History Museum. Check out their online exhibit: From Ideas to Independence |  A Century of Entrepreneurial Women. ...read more

Feb 20

Final Episodes of “The Presidents of the United States”

Education

Catch the final two episodes from the History Channel’s “The Presidents of the United States” series. ...read more

Feb 13

Presidents' Day is Four Days Away

Education

President’s day is only four days away! Did you catch the first few episodes of “The Presidents of the United States” series from the History channel we published here? Check out a few more episodes... ...read more

Feb 06

Doodle 4 Google Competition

Announcements

Google is holding its annual “Doodle 4 Google” competition, which is a challenge to all K-12 students to consider the theme “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place…” and to create a doodle for their panel of judges to consider.  ...read more

Feb 05

CVA Featured on New State Education Website

General

Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA) is featured on a new website created to showcase excellence in Washington State public education. ...read more

Feb 01

Celebrating Presidents' Day All Month!

Education

February 17th is President’s day but we’ll be celebrating all month. Check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds for lots of remarkable resources about those great folks who’ve sat at the head of the free world. ...read more

Jan 14

InstaGrok for Unique Web Searching

General

InstaGrok is a search engine focused on educational content. The users are enabled to research a topic with an interactive map, customize the results with videos, links and facts, and share the things they have learned.  ...read more

Jan 13

Weird Winter

General

We thought you might find this interesting. It’s a video that explains how we keep getting record cold temps in the mid-west despite the global warming trend. ...read more

Dec 09

Student Connections

Education

Most families that enroll in Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA), are looking for an education delivered at a distance, but not necessarily online. With the growing, nationwide interest in bringing education to students – especially rural students – via leading edge technology, CVA is piloting a project that puts online teaching and learning to the test. In this article, we check in with veteran CVA teacher Val Ramos to see how the pilot is working out so far. ...read more

Dec 02

Winter is Coming!

Education

In many parts of Washington it is already quite cold. There may even be some of that strange white stuff covering the ground. But did you know winter doesn’t officially start in the northern hemisphere until December 21st? ...read more

Oct 31

That's Novel!

General

Throughout November, we will be celebrating all things “novel”. From the works of literary greats to writing suggestions for literary wannabes, we’ll share tips, best practices, links and resources centered on the great literary tradition of the novel. ...read more

Oct 25

Mock Election Starts Monday!

Announcements

The Washington State student Mock Election, held every year the week before national Election Day, gets underway on Monday, October 28th. ...read more

Oct 01

Teach Peace

General

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? We’ll be providing you with lots of resources this month to help educate you and your students on this sensitive topic. ...read more

Sep 11

CVA Expands Online Course Offerings

Featured Curriculum

Columbia Virtual Academy expanded its selection of high quality course offerings this year to include a comprehensive line-up of quality online courses for grades K-12.   ...read more

Sep 11

Celebrate National Wilderness Month with CVA

General

Did you know September is National Wilderness Month? And did you know that every year there is an official proclamation from the president to make it so? Here is this year's official proclamation: ...read more

Aug 12

Learning Lemonade Stand

Education

One of the most archetypical summer time endeavors for young entrepreneurial spirits is the lemonade stand. Hosting a lemonade stand is not only fun, it’s a wealth of learning opportunities. ...read more

Jul 23

Things to Learn While Camping

Education

Camping is one of the best ways to get away from it all and relax as a family. While soaking up the incredible natural beauty of Washington State, you might also be giving your children one of their best learning opportunities of the summer. And it can start before you even leave! ...read more

Jul 10

CVA Students Part of Winning ROV Team

General

Submitted by Ashley McConnaughey Whidbey Island’s Atlantis Inc. ROV Team beat out fourteen other underwater robotics teams to win first place at the annual MATE ROV Pacific Northwest Regional Challenge on Saturday, ensuring that they would compete in the MATE International ROV Competition in June.  Their Regional competition was one of 22 globally, and they’ll be facing teams from Egypt, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Scotland, and more next month. This is Atlantis Inc.’s fourth year competing in the ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) competition. ...read more

Jul 01

Summer Learning Fun

Education

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it’s time to stop learning. In fact, learning during the summer months is vitally important to keeping young students on track. ...read more

Jun 05

Featured Student Work

Featured Student Work

Poems by 3rd grade CVA student Summer Barnett. ...read more

May 22

A CVA Parent’s Story

Education

  Here is a story shared with us by a CVA parent and CVA teacher Beth Fowler: Even before they were married, Kealy and her husband agreed that Kealy would be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. So when it came time for their oldest, Olivia, to enter Kindergarten and a friend told Kealy about CVA, she promptly enrolled Olivia. ...read more

May 15

DEEP BLUE: Marine-Biology

General

  Many people interested in the ocean and animals choose to study Marine Biology. Marine biology is the scientific study of organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy. Marine biology differs from marine ecology as marine ecology is focused on how organisms interact with each other and the environment, and biology is the study of the organisms themselves. ...read more

May 02

International Exchange

General

I am pleased for the opportunity to share an incredible family experience with the greater “CVA Family.” This year, my family partnered with EF Foundation for Foreign Study to welcome an exchange student named Johannes from Germany into our home. It was one of the best things we have ever done as a family. Our kids are now excited about learning a foreign language and they even dream of traveling and studying abroad in the future. Learning another language has a relevance we could not have achieved any other way.  ...read more

Apr 19

CVA Educational Feature: DEEP BLUE

Education

Over the next couple months we’re going to dive into the fascinating depths of the deep blue sea. Join us as we learn all about oceanography, marine biology, early ocean exploration and amazing literature inspired by the sea. We’ll meet famous explorers like Magellan and Jacques Cousteau and surreal creatures that actually exist! ...read more

Mar 29

Featured Student Work by Chloe Davis, Grade 2

Featured Student Work

From CVA teacher Jeannette James: “Chloe Davis is a young lady who absolutely loves science. She is the second grade and is doing amazing science work beyond her grade level. Mom says, ‘Chloe loves science so much she would do it in her spare time.’” ...read more

Mar 06

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 10

Education

Perhaps I may be biased. Okay, I will openly admit I am beyond biased, guilty as charged and completely blinded by my own child on this one. Thea, my three-year old daughter, has the most gorgeous mane of blonde hair known to toddler-kind. So soft, so amazingly long and so, so very difficult to get a brush through without a major tantrum on both our parts. Have you ever been there? ...read more

Mar 05

Starting a Garden

Education

We've been talking about gardening all this month. Before you get your hands in the dirt, there are some things to think about before starting a garden. ...read more

Mar 01

Scientific Ocean Adventures!

Education

O.A.R. Northwest is hosting an incredible learning opportunity online. Read more about it here and follow along their exciting journey at home! ...read more

Feb 20

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 9

Education

Let the unlearning begin! Of what? Well, all that is of classical type of course…classically conditioned that is! ...read more

Feb 13

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 8

Education

Ivan Pavlov, with his signature long, white beard and slightly rotund figure, could have played a perfect Santa in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” He even had a penchant for ringing a bell! But instead, our dear Pavlov cut a path deep and wide in the field of psychology that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1904.  ...read more

Feb 13

Featured Student Work by Anna Scott, Grade 7

Featured Student Work

This week I did a Science Lab on Astronomy with my Dad. Our task was to find the center of the Milky Way, via Google Earth. The hardest part was working with Google Earth. It was a little difficult with the format, but Dad downloaded it and then we worked with the settings to find the right format. The center of the Milky Way is the center of our galaxy. We used a chart out of my middle school Astronomy book, and it's a chart that helps you see the constellations. What you need to do is to find the three constellations with the most globular clusters. The highest number of globular clusters in them, which is what I did. The three constellations with the highest globular clusters are Scorpius with 20 globular clusters, Ophiuchus with 25, and Saggitarius with 34. Once you have this knowledge, you try to find the middle of these three constellations. ...read more

Feb 06

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 7

General

by Gretchen Cruden Remember the great Barbie debacle of 1992 where newly released Talking Teen Barbie’s sweet voice sing-songed, “Math class is tough!” as she stood in bent-elbowed awe of all that was algebraic. Oh Barbie – how could you? So horridly predictable you!   ...read more

Feb 06

Food and Gardening!

General

The days are getting longer. The weather is getting warmer. Spring is just around the corner! It’s a great opportunity to start thinking about plants and gardening. ...read more

Jan 30

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 6

General

"Time is the cruelest teacher; first she gives the test, then teaches the lesson."
      -Unknown I truly believe one of the most joyful aspects of teaching is recapturing the thrill of learning in myself. Perhaps this is why I am fascinated by neuroscience as it relates to education, for this field is constantly changing and providing new ways to approach learning. So many ideas, studies and concepts are out there, just waiting for you to read about them, try them out and see what works for you and your child. It is just so exciting! ...read more

Jan 29

New Scholarship Resource Page for High School Students

Education

For high school students looking for scholarships, CVA has launched a new scholarship page on MyCVA.org. The featured link on the site is to thewashboard.org, which is a giant database of scholarship opportunities that can be searched or matched to user preferences. Scholarship opportunities not listed in the database are listed on our scholarship page. Check it out here! ...read more

Jan 16

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 5

General

Before we even begin, please get a pencil and paper. Do not do what I do, which is just keep on reading until I see why I need a pencil and paper. Just go do it. Are you still here? Oh goodness! Fine. You need them to help prove a point to yourself. Okay. Go get them now… ...read more

Jan 16

Becoming an Astronaut

General

Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to become a NASA Astronaut? Find out here! ...read more

Dec 19

Winter Solstice

Education

Did you know that the winter solstice is December 21st? The winter solstice is the day that the sun is the lowest in the sky, this is the shortest day of the year. ...read more

Dec 19

Featured Student Work by Kirsten Scott

Featured Student Work

I stood still and straight, watching the horse show’s judge walk over toward the announcer. I held my breath, my stomach twisting in knots of nervous excitement. Then suddenly the air rushed out of me. My face fell; I was last. As I led Dot, my pony, out of the ring I tried to blink away the tears stinging my eyes. The big pink ribbon they handed to me did little to console me. Once I got back to the horse trailer, I did cry. Discouragement and the hot August sun were melting me like a bowl of ice cream. Salty tears streamed down my face and dripped off my nose. Dot, trusty little Dot, had failed me. My mother’s comforting words were not heard. My whole universe was in despair. “Would I ever get better,” I wondered? ...read more

Dec 05

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 4

Education

The flu of 2009 had visited our home, unwelcomed and demanding. With a merciless fierceness, it had left my body wrapped in a sweated sheet for three days running. Finally, in the delirium of the wee hours of night, my fever had slacked and I could finally open my eyes without the cacophony of noise from my night-light sending me reeling. I was starving. I propped myself up in bed and slowly parted my parched lips. My hands shook slightly as I took the warmed bowl of soup from my husband’s hands. Thin broth; my salvation. The taste of it dizzied me, in a child-at-the circus way, as I felt my life being returned to me. I will never forget that simple meal. ...read more

Dec 04

Space!

General

Winter is settling in and with it comes the short days and long nights we’re known for up here in the Northwest. What a great opportunity to use those extra evening hours for a little stargazing!? ...read more

Nov 28

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 3

Education

Encoding information is the process of getting the outside world into our minds. The outside world can enter though our sense of taste, touch, sight, smell and sound. The sensory organs we use to perceive the world translate the sensory inputs into electrical language our brains can understand, and we are off and running on the process of forming memories. ...read more

Nov 28

Featured Student Work

Featured Student Work

"Thank you," I told the chauffeur said as he opened the door to the limo. I stepped out of the limo, and I could not help but feel like I was in a movie. People dressed in festive holiday minks, dresses and tuxedos were chatting and laughing as they moved toward the entrance of the theater. Snow was gently falling all around me, and it sparkled as it passed through the lights beaming from the enormous building in front of me. ...read more

Nov 14

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 2

Education

One of my all-time favorite principles of physics governing our universe is that energy is never created or destroyed, it just changes form. This is easy to understand when you burn a log of wood. The energy from the wood becomes heat energy. It is gets a little more abstract when you think about the energy of the world interacting with your mind. ...read more

Nov 07

The Brains Behind Learning, Part 1

Education

Would a mountain climber ever think to ascend Mount Everest without first undergoing intense physical training and gaining the necessary knowledge to ensure not just survival, but success? Definitely not; to do so would result in almost certain failure. Yet, many people approach the process of learning in much the same manner as the unprepared climber. They do not equip themselves with the information they need to be the most effective learner or teacher they can be and find themselves, perhaps not shivering on the side of a mountain, but certainly sidelined and uncertain of how to proceed. So, where to begin? In the words of Julia Andrews, let’s begin at the very beginning. It is a very good place to start... ...read more

Oct 31

Civics and Your student

Education

Washington State has outlined five major areas (Essential Academic Learning Requirements or EALR) students should explore in their undertaking of social studies. These requirements are categorized as civics, economics, geography, history, and social studies skills.  The EALR are broken down further into components that guide the teaching of these areas.  In connection with our recent student election surveys, we shall focus on the EALR of civics. ...read more

Oct 24

Free Event for Gifted Students in Tacoma!

Announcements

Free day-event in Tacoma on November 4 for advanced learners (grades 3-12) and their families. ...read more

Oct 01

Get Into Civics!

Education

A presidential election year provides remarkable opportunities for real-life civics lessons on a near daily basis. It can also provide a lot of somewhat ugly chatter. A well informed citizen can elevate the level of discourse and effect change by appreciating and working within the system.  We’ll be highlighting civics here on CVA.org, MyCVA.org and in the weekly E-Zine up until the week of the election. You can also find daily civics postings on our Twitter and Facebook feeds. ...read more

Sep 26

Practice Test for the SAT and National Merit Scholarship Program

Announcements

The PSAT is a practice test for the SAT, a standardized test required by most four-year universities for admission and scholarships. By taking the PSAT, students will learn valuable information about their academic strengths and weaknesses and how to take the SAT. ...read more

Aug 28

Lopez Island Joins CVA

Announcements

The Lopez Island School District is the newest district partner to offer the Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA) program. “CVA is glad to welcome Lopez Island to its consortium of partners who are committed to keeping virtual learning fully public,” said CVA Superintendent Dr. Mark Selle. “Superintendent Bill Evans and his staff have a deep commitment to offering quality educational alternatives to their community and will be an excellent partner.” ...read more

Aug 09

Whooping Cough Update

Announcements

Washington State is in the midst of a whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic. Nearly 3,300 cases have been reported so far this year—more than the State has recorded in seventy years. Read more... ...read more

Jun 28

Families Flock to CVA Roadshow

General

Families turned out in force at Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA) Roadshow events across the state over the last month where they met face-to-face with teachers, looked over instructional resources, tried out online classes, perused the new course catalog, and got answers to their questions. ...read more

Jun 27

CVA Welcomes New Partner District

Announcements

Beginning this fall, the Cascade School District will offer an alternative to brick-and-mortar classes to area students through a statewide, public program called Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA). “We were looking for an experienced partner that could help us get started,” said Cascade Superintendent, Steve McKenna. “We want an opportunity to better serve all students in our community.” ...read more

May 24

Whooping Cough Epidemic

Announcements

The State of Washington has declared a whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic, a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing that makes it hard to breathe. It is potentially fatal for young children, and infants with severe cases should be hospitalized. ...read more

May 17

Featured Curriculum: Singapore Math

Featured Curriculum

Singapore Math is a teaching method based on the primary textbooks and syllabus from the national curriculum of the country of Singapore. It uses a visual approach in teaching math. Students learn how to model mathematical problems using bar graphs. ...read more

May 16

CVA Roadshow is Coming to Town

Announcements

If you haven’t already heard, CVA is coming to a town near you to show off tables and tables of curricula, a host of online classes, the new CVA Course Catalog and a dedicated, knowledgeable staff to answer all your questions. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to see for themselves how great the next year will be at CVA,” said CVA Principal, Dave Vail, “The Roadshow will be particularly valuable for families who are new to CVA or interested in the program.”  ...read more

May 04

Featured Curriculum: Saxon Math

Featured Curriculum

Saxon Math is a curriculum that teaches math concepts in small increments. Each lesson begins with a new concept and then will review previous concepts. With this type of an approach, every lesson assignment and assessment is a cumulative review of all materials that have been covered.  ...read more

Apr 19

Whooping Cough Information from the Department of Health

General

The Department of Health recently announced that whooping cough has reached epidemic levels in Washington. We’ve already had almost 900 cases this year, and it shows no signs of slowing.  We’re on a pace to have the highest number of cases in decades. Babies that catch whooping cough are most at risk for serious disease, and they’re too young to get enough doses of the vaccine to be protected. So, it’s up to all of us—families, caregivers, and communities—to protect them by getting vaccinated against whooping cough (pertussis). ...read more

Mar 27

Teaching Generosity

General

The Valley School District collected 1,258 pounds of food for the Valley Food Pantry thanks to the efforts of students, the staff, generous members of the community, and the Valley School Pep Club, who organized the food drive. ...read more

Mar 09

CVA Student Wins Essay Contest

Student Stories

Congratulations to tenth grader, Brandon Spicer, for winning the national Being an American Essay Contest sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute for his essay, “Limited Government.” “I was so surprised to win,” Brandon said. There were about 6,300 entries in the western region (nine states in all) and a $1,000 prize.  ...read more

Mar 08

Art Contest for 2012 Voters' Pamphlet

Announcements

Calling all 4th - 5th grade artists! The Office of the Secretary of State is accepting art from Washington State students, grades 4 - 5, for the 2012 Kids' Art Contest. The winning picture will be featured in the 2012 General Election Washington State Voters' Pamphlet and seen by 3.5 million voters.  ...read more

Feb 28

Some Thoughts about the Charter School Movement Based on Its History

Education

Valley Superintendent Mark Selle shares his thoughts regarding the charter school movement and the concept of subsidiarity.  ...read more

Feb 17

TBI Survivor Finds Learning Success

Student Stories

In 2006, Jason McDonald and his family chose CVA for its accelerated courses and flexible curriculum. Not only did he excel in his classes, he was doing work well beyond his grade-level. Two years later, Jason (then 16) fell down a flight of stairs in his house, hitting his head on the bannister, causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI).      ...read more

Oct 26

CVA Student Wins Junior Ladies Title at Regional Figure Skating Event

Student Stories

Figure skater Alison Jeffers, a 17-year-old CVA senior, is the Junior Ladies Champion of the Pacific Northwest region. ...read more

Aug 09

CVA Getting the Word Out

Announcements

The staff at Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA) would like to send a special thanks to the parents, students and prospective families for attending the Parent Orientations across the state of Washington. ...read more

Jul 21

CVA Family Update

Announcements

CVA made a preliminary announcement on July 1st regarding how changes to the Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) rules would affect your CVA program. This update, originally promised by August 1st, is ahead of schedule because we have great news! ...read more

May 11

I Heart CVA

Announcements

We’ll be highlighting submissions from teachers, students and families on our new website coming out later this year. ...read more

May 04

Young Robotics Team Hits the Water

Student Stories

Team Atlantis, Inc., who has been plying the waves of the Island Athletic Club pool, prepares to pilot their underwater robotic vehicle in the Pacific Northwest Regional Competition on Saturday, May 7th at the King County Aquatic Center. ...read more

Apr 01

CVA Student Paging, Possible Presidential Run in 2034

Student Stories

CVA Student, Erin Kitchens, had the opportunity to serve as a page in the Washington State Legislature from January 10th-14th. ...read more

Mar 31

CVA Day in Olympia

General

CVA families from all over Washington convened in Olympia for a wonderful, dual-purpose event on Tuesday, March 22nd. More than just a field trip, Online Learning Day in Olympia allowed CVA students and their families an opportunity for a Capitol Campus tour, the chance to explore and the opportunity meet other distance and online learning students in the state.   ...read more

Mar 18

CVA Logo Gets Facelift for the Future

Announcements

CVA has a new logo! ...read more

Jan 26

CVA Student Ranked Fastest 14-Year-Old in the World

Student Stories

Hannah Cunliffe spends her time as most ninth graders do—shopping, talking with friends on the phone and hanging out with her sisters—but don’t let that fool you. ...read more

Jan 21

CVA Students Visit State Legislature

Student Stories

CVA students Hannah and Haley McConnaughey made an exciting trip to the Washington State Legislature to attend a student panel on Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) programs, where they participated in an open exchange of ideas with Legislators. ...read more

Jan 14

Your Democracy

General

In November, we asked CVA students to submit posters in honor of Veterans Day 2010. ...read more

Nov 09

From Afar

Student Stories

Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA) student Sally Fournier is what some would call the quintessential all-American teenager.  ...read more

Oct 27

CVA Students Win Big at National Dance Competition

Student Stories

Two CVA students stepped up on the world of dance with their big wins at the National Ballroom Competition. ...read more

Oct 14

We're Talking Long Distance

General

Besides being the new speech-language pathologist (SLP) for Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA), Laurie Kertesz isn’t your usual district therapist. Not only is she certified through the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, she’s worked for districts in Stevens County for more than 30 years.  ...read more

Oct 06

There and Back Again: A Journey in Education

General

Beth Fowler shares her story to encourage CVA parents ...read more

Sep 13

Building Dedication & Open House

Announcements

The Valley School District Office & Columbia Virtual Academy held a building dedication and open house in honor of the new home for VSD and CVA offices. ...read more

Mar 18

CVA Provisionally Accredited by Northwest Association

Announcements

Columbia Virtual Academy is pleased to announce that it has recently been provisionally accredited by The Northwest Association of Accredited Schools. ...read more

Dec 31

Scientific Ocean Adventures!

Activities

O.A.R. Northwest is hosting an incredible learning opportunity online. Read more about it here and follow along their exciting journey at home! ...read more