How It Works

How Online Middle School Works

Who can attend?

The Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) middle school program serves students in grades 6–8 who reside in the state of Washington.

What are the costs?

WAVA is a public school, so there is no tuition. We provide state-certified teachers and instructional materials. Students and families will be responsible for providing some common household materials (such as printer ink and paper). In addition, families are required to provide their own computers and internet access to participate in the program.

Choice of Standard or FLEX Program

What’s my role as a parent?

Middle school is a time when students become more independent, taking on more responsibility and ownership for their learning and working more directly with their teachers. But parent involvement is still critical to student success. As a parent, you (or another responsible adult you choose) serve as your child’s Learning Coach.

While teachers set the pace of instruction, the Learning Coach helps their student stay on track. Parent/Learning Coach involvement is essential for at least 20 hours a week and roughly 50–60 percent of this time is online. The initial 4–8 weeks can be intensive as your family settles into a routine.

middle school student at online school

Working with Teachers in the Standard WAVA Program

Teachers provide individual and small group assistance via online synchronous sessions called “Class Connects.” Students are expected to attend all required Class Connects and meet with their teacher to receive course assistance, tutoring, and instruction. Class Connects vary by grade level and are scheduled by your teacher.

Schoolwork Expectations in the Standard WAVA Program

In middle school, student learning changes to a semester-based approach where students are required to earn a passing grade on their assignments and online lessons. Due dates are assigned to lessons to encourage consistent, steady progress for academic success.

While online lessons can usually be completed at any time of day, students are required to attend teacher-led, direct-instruction, online synchronous Class Connect sessions. During Class Connects, students receive online instruction from teachers and have opportunities to interact virtually with classmates.

Attending Class Connects and completing coursework according to the assigned pacing schedule, will help set up your student for success.

Working with Teachers in the FLEX Program

Families in the FLEX Program set their own structures and schedules for learning. FLEX students have just one mandatory Class Connect each week: a homeroom session. This weekly requirement provides an opportunity to connect with other students, and makes sure students are aware of important information and opportunities. Rather than attending other Class Connects that are required by the teachers, FLEX students and their Learning Coaches determine their own monthly learning plan.

Dedicated FLEX teachers are available via email and phone on school days and have regularly scheduled and posted office hours each week. These are set times when teachers are in a Class Connect session, ready to answer questions from students and Learning Coaches. Think of it as coming into the teacher’s classroom; they will be there in the Class Connect whether anyone joins at the beginning or not. Pop in, get what you need, and pop out. Students with IEPs receive all the services called for in their plans, including specifically designed instruction time with special education teachers. 

Schoolwork Expectations in the FLEX Program

FLEX students are expected to complete 10 percent of each year-long course every month (20 percent for semester-long classes). All FLEX students have a monthly progress conference with their FLEX teacher where they share their what they have learned, reflect on how the previous month went, and look ahead to the next month. To remain in the FLEX program students must maintain passing grades in all courses.

Time Commitment

Attendance is logged Monday through Friday; however, academic progress can be achieved during the weekends as well. Middle School students are expected to spend approximately 4–7 hours on schoolwork per school day.


Email is the primary form of communication between the school and families. Learning Coaches and students are required to check and respond to emails on a daily basis.

State Testing