Inspire Academy gives students options

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Chambers County School District’s Inspire Virtual Academy kicked off the school year with consistent enrollment numbers of returning and new students almost daily after a successful inaugural graduating class in spring 2023.

Recently, a Chambers County Schools parent mistakenly enrolled her child in a virtual school program in a different district. Instructor Precious White-Jordan said parents can apply by finding the application form link on the Chambers County School District website.

“The application process is pretty simple,” White-Jordan said. “It’s seamless.”

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According to White-Jordan, many parents in the community don’t realize that Inspire Virtual Academy is a school within the district, not a program. IVA had its first graduation ceremony last year.

Students often worry that they will have to give up their afterschool activities. However, White-Jordan said IVA students can participate in any sports teams, clubs and activities at their home school.

“They need that socialization,” she said.

Recently, virtual schools and programs have been in higher demand due to the pandemic. White-Jordan said the school allows students to work at their own pace on a rigorous curriculum.

“For me, it also teaches them how to be independent thinkers and how to be organized, how to advocate for themselves, how to communicate,” White-Jordan said.

White-Jordan said she believes the curriculum that students follow on the Access platform is equal to, if not more rigorous than, the education they would receive in a traditional classroom. The Access Virtual Learning platform was created and funded by an Alabama State Department of Education grant. The platform has franchise courses for ninth through twelfth grade.

White-Jordan said real educators around the state of Alabama have created and adapted curricula and lesson plans in dozens of subject areas. Virtual learning also helps students gain time management skills and self-reliance.

IVA students can either work from home or come into the Inspire Academy building to work.

One thing IVA has that is unique is that there are teachers present in the building to help students when they need it.

IVA has a math teacher, science teacher, history teacher and English teacher. IVA instructors are a resource available on the Inspire Academy campus for students as needed. They can ask questions virtually and often in real time.

“There are real teachers here,” she said.

On the other hand, White-Jordan said parents should assess whether the virtual school is the correct educational environment for their children.