Online Academy

Students working in groups with laptops, notebooks, pens, and paper

The Academy provides online classes that replace a quarter of language arts, history, science or math curriculum in over 50 districts across Wisconsin. 


Students at desks. An oval projection of the earth fills the back wall.

Academy Challenges are anchored in complex, real-world problems that students explore by discussing big questions, reading fiction and non-fiction text, writing persuasive, informative and creative works and interacting with other eager minds. Often the highlight of the course, students also participate in face-to-face meetings with their teachers and other classmates where they build community and participate in hands-on explorations. Our instructors typically spend eight to ten hours in each class every week providing regular and personalized feedback.

At a Glance: Academy Challenges

•  Tier Three, Replacement Curriculum
•  90 hours of Blended Instruction, including Two-Three Face-to-Face meetings
•  In-depth Content Explorations
•  Students spend seven to ten hours per week completing activities
•  Cost: Wisconsin Schools & Parents ($235) 


Successful Students

Typically Academy students are in the top 5% of a school’s population. Areas in which Academy students are most often identified as high-ability include academics, creativity, and leadership. Students are nominated by school personnel to participate in the Academy.

•  Balance Time and Challenge: Self-motivation, follow-through, and time management are key. Activities are designed to replace five hours of classwork weekly and often require homework.  

•  Dig Deeply: Courses delve deeply into a theme, use higher-level thinking skills as learning targets, and highlight multidisciplinary connections.

•  Understand Their Own Process: Retention of content is a happy side effect of our process-driven approach. Successful students openly articulate their learning process, recognize they are not always correct, and continue to respectfully and constructively ask questions.

•  Consume Text and Media Wisely: Reading is thought of as a meaning driven process, which changes depending on the purpose. A balanced approach to student-chosen and class-wide readings culminates in contemplative conversations. Success requires the sifting and winnowing of large amounts of resources. Reading several books while also doing research is very common.

•  Effectively Communicate: In an online setting, written communication expands beyond the realm of formal papers and becomes the tool through which students articulate their position, share personal stories, build consensus, and deviate from the norm. Successful students write continuously, incorporating logic, research, or personal stories as support.

Assessment Structure

Our assessment system focuses on documenting growth and helping students reflect upon their own learning. Schools receive a midterm and final report which includes reading, writing and interaction evaluations as well as detailed descriptions of student growth.