California K-12 Online School FAQs

What grades are offered by the California Virtual Academies?

The nine California Virtual Academies offer grades TK–12. Our enrollment consultants can help you find the right school for your student based upon your student's grade and your home location.

What subjects will my child study?

English/language arts, math, science, history, music, and art are the core online courses. There will also be other courses in the appropriate grade levels, such as physical education. High school students also take a world language course, and have access to honors and Advanced Placement® (AP®) courses as well as a variety of electives.

Does the program provide textbooks and other instructional materials?

Yes, we provide textbooks and other instructional materials needed to complete the program. These books and materials are sent to students directly.* The amount and type of materials varies by grade and course. Generally, high school students receive fewer books and materials than elementary and middle school students, due to the different course requirements. Families do not pay tuition for a student to attend an online public school. Common household items and office supplies like printer ink and paper are not provided. Our enrollment consultants can help address your technological and computer questions and needs.

Upon successful completion of course requirements, will my child receive a high school diploma as students in traditional public schools do?

Yes, as a public school in California, students can earn a diploma through California Virtual Academies based on successful completion of the school's graduation requirements.

Can my child work at his or her own pace?

The CAVA Program is a mastery- based program. Students are required to work through the curriculum to complete lessons and attend live virtual sessions with their teacher throughout the school year. Middle school and high school students work through their lessons using a combination of asynchronous and synchronous (live) learning with their content area teachers and their class cohort and have quizzes, tests, and other assigned school work due on certain dates.

How much time do students spend on the computer?

We expect that students will spend no more than 20 to 25 percent of their time on the computer in the early grades. We believe in a balanced approach toward education. Computers help us provide you with effective assessment, planning, and time-management tools. Computers also act as powerful teaching tools that can motivate, stimulate, and inform children about the world around them. They do not, however, replace a solid education. Rather, they help facilitate one. That's why we use a unique multimedia approach that also includes a great deal of old-fashioned books, workbooks, and instructional materials. At the high-school level, students will spend a majority of their school day online.

Do you provide curriculum for special needs children?

Depending on a child's Individualized Education Program (IEP), we can tailor your child's learning experience to meet your student's needs. To discuss your child's needs with us, call toll-free: 866.339.6790.

Can you accommodate the accelerated learning needs of my gifted/talented child?

The beauty of our program is that it is flexible enough to meet children where they are in any given subject and take them where they want to go. Grade placement assessments, completed as part of the enrollment process, allow us to place your student in the appropriate level of curriculum. So, for example, if your fourth-grader is doing math on a sixth-grade level and reading on a fourth-grade level, we can tailor your lesson plans to meet your student's abilities. Visit our gifted and talented student section.

How do students interact socially?

In addition to interacting with their classmates in their Class Connect sessions, students have access to other social opportunities. Throughout the year, students are invited to participate in school field trips (e.g., to historical sites, museums, zoos), picnics, and other social events. Local students and parents can get together on a regular basis in their areas. The Learning Coach app online family directory provides a way for California Virtual Academies families to network with families in their region of the state. With online discussions and forums, new types of communities can be formed that are based not on geography but on shared interests.

What are my Rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?

In addition to the Parent Student Handbook, you can access the Notification of FERPA Rights [PDF] here:

What information does CAVA consider Directory Information for the purposes of FERPA?

In addition to the Parent Student Handbook, you can access the Notice for Directory Information [PDF] here:

What if my family is homeless?

California Virtual Academy is committed to supporting school success for all students including those experiencing homelessness. Homeless students are defined as lacking a fixed, regular nighttime residence, and is inclusive of migrant children who lack a fixed, regular, nighttime residence. Homeless students are provided with enrollment assistance, supplementary academic support, school-related transportation assistance, case management, and referrals to community agencies. Referrals for support can be made by teachers, school staff, and parents/guardians by contacting the homeless liaison. Disputes should be addressed using the board adopted grievance policy and uniform complaint procedures [PDF]. If you feel you may be eligible for assistance through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, please contact Melisse Burns, CAVA Homeless Liaison at or 530-421-8165

According to section 725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a(2)), the term “homeless children and youths”—

(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence...; and

(B) includes—

(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;

(ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;

(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

(iv) migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

Children and youth are considered homeless if they fit both part A and any one of the subparts of part B of the definition above.

Click here to find out more information [PDF]

CAVA’s Homeless Liaison

Melisse Burns


Resources for Homeless Children and Youths [PDF]

Resources for Homeless Children and Youths (Spanish) [PDF]

*Course materials vary by course and school. Please check with your school about offline course materials.