Southern University Laboratory Virtual School Recognized as a Louisiana Comeback Campus
The Southern University Laboratory Virtual School (SULVS) – a full-time, grades K-12 online school, and proud Stride Learning Solutions partner – was recently awarded the Louisiana Comeback Campus Award for exceptional student growth and achievement.
The award was presented by Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana State Superintendent, on the campus of Southern University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, LA. Dr. Brumley acknowledged the challenges faced by academic institutions coming out of the pandemic, and commended SULVS for its consistent dedication to excellence in recovering learning loss among its students.
“The schools that we are celebrating are performing at a higher level today than they were before the pandemic, and [SULVS] has led the way,” said Dr. Brumley.
To be named a Louisiana Comeback Campus, a school must demonstrate its mastery rates are stronger than where they were before the pandemic, and that unsatisfactory student performance is lower in comparison to the pre-pandemic rate.
Representing Southern University was Dr. Bijoy Sahoo, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.
“This school is the highest-scoring statewide virtual school,” said Dr. Sahoo.
“Southern University Laboratory Virtual School has grown a total of 26 points on the school performance score since the 2018-19 school year – that’s a major achievement.”
Over 1,000 Louisiana schools were assessed for the award, and yet only 40 institutions qualified for the designation.
“I want to thank all of you for the dedication, the never-give-up attitude that you had throughout the course of the pandemic to make sure your students got what they needed and deserved,” said Dr. Brumley. “But also, we want to take time to learn from you all the practices that can be replicated in other parts of our state.”
Nadia Seals, Director of Virtual School, further explained that being virtual really positioned SULVS well for the interest that emerged in online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the pandemic, even post-pandemic, many families still do not feel comfortable returning their children to a brick-and-mortar setting,” said Seals. “So, for us to give them this opportunity and option to get the same quality education – yet, from home – has been one of the driving forces of our program.”
“The bar is set – we expect to continue to grow, and to set the expectation not just for our virtual school, but learning across the state,” said Herman R. Brister, Director of the Southern University Laboratory School.
SULVS uses Learning Solutions curriculum, teachers, and mentors to prepare their learners to thrive in a modern world.
Learning Solutions representatives were also onsite to witness the ceremony, and to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the SULVS faculty, staff, and learners.
“Today is what happens when you approach education with the three Cs in mind – compassion, communication, and consistency,” said Stephanie Jankowski, Stride Learning Solutions General Education Teacher, who has partnered with SULVS for more than seven years. “Everyone involved in the program is one-hundred-and-ten percent committed to these learners. I am honored to be a part of this. Our teamwork makes the dream work.”
SULVS: A Virtual School Rooted in the History of Southern University
As part of the three-campus Southern University System in Louisiana, SULVS is a full-time online public school serving kindergarten through twelfth-grade students throughout Louisiana.
Families have the unique opportunity to enroll in a virtual school rooted in the rich history of Southern University, with the potential of entering a postsecondary education experience in the university after graduation.
Students complete all their learning online, while working closely with their teachers via:
- Video conferencing
- Telephone calls
- Text messages
Upon enrollment, SULVS staff meet with families to share the school vision and to discuss student expectations.
“We have found through experience that it is very important to share our vision, policies, and procedures with our students and families so that everyone is on the same page from the start,” said Seals.
Staffing and Strong Support Enhance Learning
SULVS is led by:
- Two full-time educators
- Academic Advisor/Guidance Counselor
The teaching and mentoring staff are provided by Learning Solutions as part of the full-time online school program.
Learning Solutions core subject teachers are certified in Louisiana. At the start of each year, Learning Solutions teachers set up courses and send introductory communication via emails and phone calls to families and students.
Throughout the year, teachers maintain regular contact with students and families to help ensure student success.
Teachers grade all course assignments and discussions, providing personalized, targeted feedback and resources to help students master content. After reviewing student data, teachers set up one-on-one and small group sessions to communicate with students to keep them engaged, motivated, and moving forward.
Learning Solutions Academic Mentors
In addition to Learning Solutions teachers, academic mentors also provide an additional layer of support specifically for SULVS 6th through 12th grade students. Learning Solutions academic mentors are responsible for contacting students and/or families on a weekly basis, coaching students to be active and responsible learners, acting as liaison between students and teachers, and documenting students’ needs and communicating them to all stakeholders.
To help coordinate teaching and support activities at SULVS, there are two Learning Solutions-employed Supervisor Teachers, one for the grades K–5 teachers and another for the grades 6–12 teachers.
Biweekly Instructional Meetings
To ensure regular staff communication, biweekly instructional meetings are held between the Learning Solutions instructional team and SULVS staff to discuss concerns teachers and academic mentors may have about students who need additional support and how to best address those issues, as well as state testing.
“We enjoy a constant conversation with Learning Solutions, which is so helpful as we continue to grow,” shared Seals.
Self-Paced Online Curriculum is the Backbone of Student Learning
SULVS uses Stride Learning Solutions individualized curriculum aligned to state standards. Students and teachers meet daily on a pre-determined schedule for live virtual video sessions for each of their classes using Learning Solutions’ Class Connect.
Class Connect sessions are also used to help prepare students for Louisiana state tests, providing an additional layer of focused support for students and their families.
SULVS also offers dual enrollment courses at any university in Louisiana.
“We’ve had students attend Delgado Community College in New Orleans, University of Louisiana in Monroe, the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and more,” said Seals. “Our students are spread all across the state, so we work with them to find dual enrollment opportunities close to home.”
“SULVS strives to expose all of its students to postsecondary education in as many ways as possible. To that end, SULVS schedules state testing sites on college campuses which helps students feel more comfortable in postsecondary environments.”
SULVS has recently added Advanced Placement and honors courses to its offerings to add rigor to the program and help students excel.
Success Is Measured in Multiple Ways
Seals shared that she receives frequent positive feedback from families. One parent, for example, talked about how grateful she was for SULVS and how the school’s flexibility met her family’s needs:
“My daughter enrolled at Southern University Lab Virtual School in the fall of 2018 because the school she previously attended was no longer willing to partner with the performing arts school she was also attending. Enrolling in SULVS was easy, seamless, and smooth. I especially appreciated the pacing schedule for each course which provided an aerial view of the material that would be covered each semester and a timeline for completion. The pacing schedule made it easy for my daughter to work at her own speed. Because of the schedule flexibility SULVS provided, she was able to practice her instrument, travel, and attend rehearsals and performances, all while being a full-time SULVS student. Teachers are accommodating, knowledgeable, and helpful. The administration and faculty are easily accessible. Anytime my daughter has questions or needs clarity, she emails her teachers, and they promptly respond. Southern University Lab Virtual School was the perfect fit for our family.”
Seals’ vision for SULVS is to continuously expand offerings to meet the needs of as many children as possible in Louisiana as well as provide social, emotional, and mental support.
“I think we’re a hidden gem here in Louisiana. In everything we do we make sure we keep our students in mind and work to help them progress in every way possible,” Seals said.
If you’re ready to learn all the ways that Learning Solutions is creating modern learning for any learner, anywhere, we’re here for you. Visit StrideLS.com to explore our on-demand teachers, rapid credit recovery solutions, high-dosage tutoring, and more.