CVA is a public school program that strives to ensure a personalized focus on the learning needs of each student. In July, 2003 the program was a small, local operation with an enrollment goal of 25 students. By the end of the year, 75 students had applied. This enormous demand for choice-based education has been a recurring theme ever since.
By the end of the 2004/05 school year, there were over 125 students in the program and families outside the Valley School District had expressed interest in the educational model of “family choice education” being provided by the district. In 2005, changes in state law opened the door for providing educational services from a distance to students residing around the state.
Leading into the 2006/07 school year, CVA invited school districts across the Evergreen State to join in partnership to provide a choice-based alternative learning program. Later that year, three districts—Curlew, Orient and Freeman—became partners, bringing the total enrollment count to 350 students.
In 2007/08, enrollment swelled to 855 students and Colville, Inchelium, Battle Ground, Kettle Falls and Cheney School Districts joined CVA.
Word spread of this unique academic program that honors parents as the first and most important educators of their children. Nearly 1,600 students signed up for the 2008/09 school year when Raymond, Meridian and Sultan School Districts became partners. CVA also finalized an agreement with Calvert Educational Services, which has been producing educational curricula since 1905, making CVA a free provider of the Calvert curriculum in Washington State. Families then had the option of enrolling their children in either the established broad-based curriculum track or the CVA-Calvert curriculum package.
In 2009/10, CVA was granted approval for provisional state accreditation. Over 2,500 students were enrolled in CVA and the Eastmont School District became the newest partner. For the 2010/11 school year, enrollment continued to rise with 3,285 students signed up. CVA was approved as an online provider by the Digital Learning Department (DLD). Four additional partner districts became a part of CVA—Summit Valley, Naselle-Grays River Valley, Stevenson-Carson and Onalaska School District.
2010/2011 saw the clouds of legislative change gathering on the horizon, as the state faced dwindling resources coupled with a State Supreme Court mandate that it dramatically step up education funding. At the same time, state auditors began to look more closely at ALE programs across the state and opposing interpretations of the governing law began to surface, resulting in staggering financial findings against ALE districts. These troubling events began a series of increasingly restrictive modifications to ALE law that reduced funding, impacted parent participation and eliminated CVA’s ability to continue offering Community Based Instructors (terminated at the end of the 2011/12 school year).
These events understandably caused frustrated families to switch to single-district programs that could retain many of their CBIs, and nervous partner district school boards to opt out of CVA. At the same time, it provided opportunities for CVA to focus on improving the quality of its student learning and instructional models, streamline its Instructional Resources process and build a Student Records System database that responded to audit concerns by incorporating built-in compliance features.
Heading into 2013/14, CVA lost a number of its partner districts and students, but emerged as a stronger and more efficient program and under new leadership. Legislative actions and restrictions to ALE that discourage parent partnership programs and public school enrollment by “homeschooling” families is still a challenge to CVA’s mission.
While CVA can no longer meet the diverse needs of some families to the same degree as in the past, CVA can still offer significant choice to families who desire that their children be educated outside a brick-and-mortar classroom environment and with greater parent participation. CVA is building bridges of communication and cooperation with state agencies and continually refining its processes and student learning options to be a distinguished, quality provider for those who seek an alternative in public education.