Virtual Academy


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NUSD Launches Virtual Academy

Launching Fall 2021

Providing families an innovative option for students to learn, thrive, and excel in a virtual environment.

About the Virtual Academy

Commencing with the 2021-22 school year, the Natomas Unified K-12 Virtual Academy will provide our families with an additional school option, this one virtually.  The academy will allow students to engage in a virtual (online) instructional model for grades K-8 and/or a virtual (online) independent study / in-person instructional model for grades 9-12.  

The Academy is intended to be an educational commitment, a long term learning alternative to traditional schools, not a temporary alternative to the current global pandemic.  Parents and students will be required to submit a commitment contract indicating their interest to attend the academy for the full school year.  

Link to Informational Flyer
Executive Director selected for Virtual Academy. Meet Dr. Esther Perez
Link to Board Presentation 2-24-21

School kid little girl learning and looking at laptop computer making homework studying knowledge with online education e-learning system.children video conference with teacher tutor at home

The Virtual Academy will include:

For grades K-8:

  • NUSD Multiple-Subject Credentialed Teachers for grades K-6
  • NUSD Single-Subject Credentialed Teachers for grades 7-8 for Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Physical Education
  • Self-contained grade level instruction for grades K-6
  • Teacher led virtual lessons and instruction
  • Independent virtual lessons and instruction
  • Board adopted curriculum and textbooks (digital platform based on grade level)
  • Flexible student learning schedules
  • Intervention / tutoring supports
  • Extracurricular opportunities 
  • Field Trip Opportunities
  • Laptops and other required hardware and software 
  • Math and Science learning kits
  • Gifted and Talented Education opportunities
  • Social Emotional Learning Supports
  • English Learner Supports
  • Special Education Supports
  • 504 Supports
  • Library access and digital subscriptions
  • Regularly scheduled in-person student/teacher check-ins
  • Access to Counselors for High School, College, and Career Planning (grades 7-8) 
  • Subject level acceleration opportunities (grades 7-8)
  • Elective / exploratory courses (grades 7-8)

For grades 9-12: 

  • Students will enroll and attend in their attendance boundary high school
  • A virtual independent study and in-person instructional learning model with a blended learning schedule at Inderkum High School, Natomas High School, and Discovery High School
  • Laptops and other required hardware and software 
  • Access to elective courses (in-person and virtual)
  • Access to participate in athletics/sports
  • Access to Associated Student Body activities and events
  • Access to extracurricular activities
  • Access to Career Technical Courses (in-person and virtual)
  • Dual Enrollment with local colleges
  • Access to Counselors for College and Career Planning
  • A – G courses
  • AP courses (in-person and virtual)
  • Courses requiring lab settings (in-person)
  • Social Emotional Learning Supports
  • English Learner Supports
  • Special Education Supports
  • 504 Supports
  • Library access and digital subscriptions
  • Teacher office hours (additional available time for students and parents to contact teachers for support)
  • Regularly scheduled in-person student/teacher check-ins
Photo of smiling teen boy in sportswear holding soccer ball - posing at studio

* ALL in-person classes and activities are subject to the California Department of Health School Re-opening guidance and the NUSD COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Sample Learning Schedules

The following schedules are samples of what a student’s instructional week may look like.  All schedules are subject to change as we continue to launch this new school.  

Teacher helping teenage schoolboy with tablet computer

Enrollment Information


Once enrolled, K-8 students become scholars of the Academy for the entire school year and will continue to remain enrolled for all subsequent school years through the completion of eighth grade.  

Should scholar families wish to transfer out of the K-8 Academy to another NUSD school for subsequent school years, parents are required to follow the intradistrict transfer request process.  Intradistrict transfers back to your boundary school are subject to available space.   

Please click here to go to the enrollment website.

High School:

High School Virtual Academy scholars are enrolled at their boundary designated high school. For families with already enrolled high school students at Inderkum, Natomas, or Discovery High Schools, please submit a parent authorization form to [email protected] to enroll in the Virtual Academy. A Virtual Academy / Enrollment representative will reach out to confirm receipt and update you on next steps. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When can we enroll?

The Virtual Academy is enrolling now for Fall 2021. Please visit the enrollment webpage to get started.

Do I have to live in Natomas to enroll?

Like our traditional schools, residents may file for an intradistrict transfer to attend the Virtual Academy.  If you live outside the NUSD boundaries, you may file an interdistrict transfer request which will be considered.

Is this an Independent Study program?

The K-8 Virtual Academy offers flexibility in scheduling to meet the needs of families and students but it is an online based school with both live and virtual teaching and check-ins, it is not a traditional independent study program.

For the high school students, grades 9-12 – this is an expansion of the already existing independent study program combined with virtual lessons, options to attend necessary classes on their campus or community college campus, plus be able to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities.

How is this different from distance learning that was provided during the pandemic?

The Virtual Academy is a NUSD school providing options for virtual, or online, learning that may take place in a classroom or from any remote location and is combined with live instruction and in-person instructional supports. The current distance learning model is a response to the pandemic while the Virtual Academy is a long-term educational option for families and students wanting online and in-person instruction with flexibility to meet their needs.

How long do I have to be enrolled?

As a NUSD school, the Virtual Academy meets the California state requirements for 180 days of instruction. Enrollment in the Virtual Academy is an annual, or year long, commitment as in other NUSD schools.

Can I do this part time / full time?

The Virtual Academy is a full time educational option with flexible scheduling offered across the school day and week. Included on this website are some sample schedules.

How can this schedule work for the individual needs of my student/family?

NUSD’s Virtual Academy can offer flexibility based on the needs of families. Please see the sample schedules posted on this website.

Is this free or is there tuition?

The Virtual Academy is a state funded public school in Natomas Unified School District and there is no tuition/costs.

Is this a charter school?


Do students come to school?

The flexibility of the Virtual Academy schedule provides flexibility in the days of the week and the times of the school day that students meet with their teacher(s), counselor, or other coaches or support staff. The primary learning in elementary may take place at home with in-person supports and check-ins while in grades 9-12 there may be classes taken in person on the high school campus or community college.

Will there be a physical Virtual Academy school building?

The K-8 Virtual Academy will be located and operated on Bannon Creek School.

The 9-12 Virtual Independent Study / In-Person Learning program will be located and operated at a location to be determined.  Students will enroll at their designated high school.  High school students who attend in-person classes, as well as virtual, will attend those at Inderkum High School, Natomas High School, or Discovery High School.

Will my student be able to participate in the graduation at their home high school?


Do Virtual Academy students still take state tests?

The NUSD Virtual Academy is a public school and all enrolled students will have access to the standards, curriculum, and assessments of all NUSD students.

How does the school provide SPED services?

The student’s IEP Team from NUSD will meet to determine eligibility and appropriateness of placement as well as the supports provided.

Does this school affect my student’s ability to attend college?

The VIrtual Academy will provide online options to offer A-G approved coursework and ensure NCAA eligibility as all other Natomas Unified School District high schools.

What type of technology will be provided to students in the Academy?

The technology package checked out to Academy students will include an Apple MacBook Air for students in grades 3-12 or Apple iPad for students in grades K-2, a rugged case, an external monitor, a scanner, headphones, and a keyboard and mouse.

Equipment insurance options will also be available.

Can a student be accelerated by grade level or subject if he or she is advanced?

Acceleration opportunities will be considered on a case-by-case basis in alignment with our current procedures to best meet the student’s academic and social needs.

How do the students interact with each other?

Students in the Virtual Academy will be able to develop and build relationships with each other, their teachers, and their school community online, in small, in-person groups, during after school electives and activities, and on field trips when determined to be safe again in our county.

Can a student still participate in the IB program?

The K-12 Virtual Academy is not an IB Diploma Program online school nor offers online IB courses at this time.

Will all grades 9-12 classes be available?

Not every high school course will be offered virtually.

Will high school students be eligible to compete in CIF sports?


Will there be coordinated field trips?

Yes, when it is safe to return to providing field trips.  The field trips may be conducted with another district school.

What is the staffing model for the Virtual Academy?

The Virtual Academy staffing model will be based on school enrollment and will include multiple-subject teachers (grades K-6 self-contained), single-subject teachers (grades 7-12), school support staff, and an Executive Director.

Parent/Student Informational Meetings (Zoom)

Join us for one of two upcoming Parent/Student Informational Sessions on April 21 or May 5.
(RSVP requested but not required – Click on the dates above to obtain Zoom meeting information)


Please email [email protected].