Opportunity to do school from your bedroom is still available

Tigard-Tualatin Virtual Academy is continuing into the 2022-23 school year.


By Jack Blouin, Staff Writer

     Enrollment for Tigard Tualatin Virtual Academy has begun for the 2022-2023 school year. This is an alternate schooling option for students who may prefer doing school work from their home, or choose to stay at home out of caution of COVID-19. This school program takes a different approach than that of in-person learning in a classroom. 

     The experience at TTVA is not for everybody. Many people require hands-on learning experience and socialization at school. On the other hand, some students feel uncomfortable or stressed in the classroom and want to pursue a more self-paced, comfortable, and less interactive educational experience.

      Many core classes and elective courses in the virtual academy are self-paced with minimal teacher input; they rely on mediums such as reading and watching videos. 

     Many courses, like world history, sociology, and art history are all self-paced courses. Some are through an educational website, Edgenuity, which is where many videos, quizzes, and tests are found. However, if a teacher desires, they are allowed to create a more social experience with their students and deviate from Edgenuity. If the teacher doesn’t follow this path, students will likely end up meeting with a teacher for a short period of time in a Google Meet with other students, then proceed to exit the meeting and complete their course in Edgenuity and/or Canvas.

     Freshman Kass Fullerton spent the first semester of the 2021-2022 school year attending TTVA. 

     Fullerton shared his reason for attending both in person and online instruction in the same year. 

     “I had the option to go either way, but personally chose to stay home until COVID-19 risk had lowered,” Fullerton said. “At the time case numbers and hospitalizations were still soaring, and I wasn’t comfortable being close to a ton of people all the time while the pandemic was still increasing in magnitude.”

     Fullerton also had some strong opinions about TTVA and described his experience.

     “TTVA, in my opinion, was awful,” Fullerton said. “The lessons didn’t cover what needed to be covered, the teachers were too flexible and had too much freedom, and the experience overall was not for me.” 

     Fullerton shared how he felt unprepared when returning to in-person learning.

     “I thought the thrown-together mess of online middle school in 2020 was better,” Fullerton said “I mostly disliked it because it failed to provide a smooth transition to in-person learning.” 

     Fullerton does not regret his decision to return to the classroom.

     “Online learning wasn’t for me,” Fullerton said. “I needed to see people again and start having normal teenage experiences.” 

     Fullerton shared feelings of loneliness while attending TTVA.

     “I felt as though I was missing out and watching life around me go on like I was looking at a TV screen,” Fullerton said.“It was too isolating and too impersonal.”

     This interview, however, is only on one side of the student TTVA experience. The Paw would be interested in hearing from students with positive experiences and welcomes these students to reach out.

     The principal at the academy is Jennifer DeWolfe. Currently, through grades K-12, there are 450 students enrolled at TTVA. According to DeWolfe, this number is anticipated to drop in the 2022-2023 school year, decreasing to an expected number of about 100-150 students in attendance.

     The start to TTVA has seemed quite rocky to students, but DeWolfe shares her experience.

     “This year has not been too different for me. This is my tenth year in online education- five as a science teacher and five as principal, ” DeWolfe said. “The biggest difference has been learning a new set of online tools and platforms that are specific to TTSD. It’s an entirely new group of teachers, counselors, secretaries and more who are all working together to create this new school and make it something great for students in our community.”

     One of the AGS teachers at TTVA is Merricka Ross. Ross finds teaching over a virtual medium as a challenge, but she explains how she has met the experience full of optimism. 

     “I think it is harder, but a fun challenge,” Ross shared. “I try to engage students as much as possible but really can’t control who is listening [and] participating and who is not.” 

     The way students learn varies very differently according to Ross. 

     “I have seen different students excel online, and others that do better in person,” Ross said. “There is not a right or wrong answer, just that people are different and learn in different ways.”

     Ross wants TTVA to be a safe, comfortable, and workable learning environment for all students who decided to take the virtual schooling route. 

     Enrollment for next year is still ongoing. Families can head to the TTSD website to get started.