This photo was taken by a LAVCA staff member after she evacuated her home.
Gina Warren is the Family Engagement Coordinator at Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy (LAVCA). Gina has over 17 years of teaching experience and currently resides in Mobile, Alabama.
August flood waters forced over 100,000 residents to evacuate their homes. It happened three days into Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy’s (LAVCA) 2016-2017 school year. Through the loss and devastation, one thing remained constant for LAVCA students and their families – the virtual school doors at LAVCA were always open.
While many of the brick and mortar schools were unsure when they would be able to open their doors, our students had full access to their online school. Our students were able to complete online work through their online school or offline work using the print materials that were provided to them. Students that did not have internet access were able to work in their workbooks and textbooks and when internet was restored, they could enter their work in the online system.
LAVCA worked with families to provide replacement materials to some families who lost everything. Despite their geographic location, our students were able to attend classes and work in their courses without interruption. In addition to supporting our LAVCA students academically, we also extended our assistance to our LAVCA families affected by the flooding. We shared information about shelters, supplies and cleanup assistance through email. We used a database to track our families as we heard from them. We mapped out families that were most likely affected and met to explore additional ways to support them. We worked to provide new materials and assist with schooling efforts to get families back on track as they rebuilt from a devastating loss.
We often hear that virtual schools are not connected and students don’t receive the support that they need by not being in a physical classroom every day. My experience is exactly the opposite for our entire school family. We may be struggling at the moment, but we are determined, strong, and getting through this together. One parent I spoke with briefly said that she’d never had a school care like LAVCA does! #LAVCApride!