Downey Virtual Academy Updates for Fall 2023-2024

Photo of Karlin LaPorta

Message from the Principal

Based on the feedback received from our families, we are happy to see so many of our students ready to return to in-person learning in the Fall of 2023. As a result of this shift, we are sharing with you the new and exciting enhancements we are planning for the future of Virtual Academy; changes we strongly believe will increase the effectiveness of our program and will be highly beneficial to our students’ academic and social-emotional learning success. Read on to find out more.

Changes to Our Virtual Elementary School

Beginning next year, Virtual Academy’s Elementary School Program will be housed out of Ward Elementary School! This integration will allow our Virtual Academy families the opportunity to participate in all school-wide events as well as support organizations/programs such as Ward’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and Robotics Club, all while still offering students a comprehensive virtual learning experience. 

As we believe student social-emotional learning success is equally as important as their academic achievement, Virtual Academy plans to make changes to our students’ instructional day that will significantly cut each student’s daily screen time. This will be done while still maintaining ample access to your student’s teachers and providing educational activities to take place at home in a 50/50 synchronous and asynchronous learning environment.

Benefits of the New Schedule

Yellow CheckmarkLess Screen Time

50% synchronous and 50% asynchronous learning.

Yellow CheckmarkAccess to Ward’s Educational Resources

Robotics, clubs, field trips, Picture Day, Book Fair, awards assemblies, and more…

Yellow CheckmarkMore In-Person Offerings

More scheduled and structured in-person learning opportunities.

Yellow CheckmarkMore Parent Involvement

Ability to join Ward’s Parent-Teacher Association, School Site Council, and English Learner Advisory Council (ELAC).

Changes to Our Virtual Secondary School

As a result of so many middle and high school students ready to return to in-person learning, we do not have the enrollment numbers to continue to offer a quality virtual program at the level that we believe our students and families expect and deserve. For that reason, we would like to share with you that we have decided to partner with an online school called Elite Academy which we strongly believe will be highly beneficial to your student’s academic and social-emotional learning success. 

Elite Academy

Elite Academy is a WASC-accredited online charter school that offers a more flexible, independent study model of learning for students in grades six through 12. They offer a variety of course offerings led by credentialed teachers, including CTE pathways, AP Courses and dual enrollment opportunities. In addition, Elite Academy offers an NCAA-approved athletic program geared toward offering families a “defined pathway to elevate athlete performance and increase chances of earning a college scholarship.”

Downey Unified students attending Elite Academy will still enjoy the opportunity for our 9th-12th graders to enroll in up to two, on-site classes per semester at our local high school, and participate in sports and clubs.

For more information, reach out to:


Additional Questions?


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Elite Academy considered public or private education? Is there tuition required? Are there extra costs?

There is no tuition cost associated with Elite Academic Academy (EAA). EAA is a tuition-free, non-profit public school that serves students in grades TK-12 in the following counties: San Diego, Orange, Kern, Inyo, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Imperial.

Will all students of Downey “who will stay online” move automatically to Elite Academy? What is the enrollment process and where can I get started?

This process is not automatic, you must sign up for it and make the decision that is best for you and your family. The first step to enrolling you child in Elite Virtual Academy is to fill out this GOOGLE FORM.

Can clubs be joined at any point of the school year? Do you have a chess club?

Students can join clubs any time they would like! We love helping our students start clubs they are passionate about. Once you meet your Teacher of Record, let them know and they can work with you to make this club come to Elite.

What grade levels can attend Elite Virtual Academy?

Our Virtual Academy is for students in grades 6-12.

How many clubs can students participate in?

A student can participate in as many clubs they have the time for and whatever interests them, as long as they can balance the rest of their schedule.

For field trips, are the students picked up or do they need their own transportation?

As an independent study virtual program, we do not provide transportation. Parents often group together to get their children to events. Some field trips are in the evenings and on weekends, so the whole family can enjoy!

What happens if we move outside of Downey?

If a student moves out of Downey, the student can still be enrolled with Elite Academic Academy if they reside and provide a proof of residency in one of the following counties: Riverside, LA, Orange, Kern, San Diego, Riverside, Inyo and Imperial counties.

When will school officially start at Elite Academic Academy?

The first day of school for the 2023/24 school year is August 28, 2023.

For students who have summer school, would it have to be completed in Downey Unified School District?

Students in grades 9-12 can take summer classes at Elite. We offer credit recovery and acceleration, as well as our Peak Performance program designed specifically for student athletes. To learn more about our summer programs, you can visit the Level Up Page.

What do the 2 courses in-person and the remainder of courses online look like?

More details coming once course Master Schedules are finalized and we work with DUSD on how this relationship will work. As soon as we have the system you will get the information. In person classes will be 9-12 only and family transportation will need to be provided.

If a parent speaks Spanish, will there be a Spanish translators available?

Our online resources and ParentSquare communication platform allow for you to change the language to Spanish. We also have translators available for meetings or to answer any questions.

Will students have classes all week or is it just a certain day?

Students have 1-2 Live Session classes each day with their Content Teachers. They work asynchronously though their coursework every day and can join Content Teacher Lab Hours or Teacher of Record Academic Support Sessions for extra support.

Where will the campus be located?

Elite Academic Academy is a non-classroom based independent study school where students learn from the safety of their homes. We provide opportunities for students and families to meet in-person for field trips (we have had over 100 field trips this school year) and special events (such as Park Days, Prom and Graduation).

Where can I find more information about Elite Virtual Academy?

More information for Elite Virtual Academy can be found on our website, specifically on our Virtual Academy Page! You can also email or call our Director, Mr. Michaelson, with any questions you have.


Phone: (951) 583-1527

What does a student's daily schedule look like?

Each student’s daily schedule looks a little different. Students have Live Sessions and Lab Hours with Content Teachers daily. They also have meetings and Academic Support Sessions with their Teacher of Record. You will work with your teacher of record to create a personalized schedule that works for you!

Will you be using Class Dojo?

We use ParentSquare, it is very similar! Within ParentSquare, you can message teachers, RSVP for events, connect with our families and more! Information is sent via app, email, and/or text message.

What if we have an iPad instead of a Chromebook?

Students are able to use a variety of devices such as Chromebooks, iPads, Macbooks, etc. Some students even use their phones to check grades and access assignments if they are unable to be in front of a computer but still want to complete work.

What does graduation look like for seniors? Do students get an actual ceremony?

Yes, we have a graduation ceremony! We have a beautiful in-person ceremony each year!

Will Elite Academic Academy or Downey Unified School District issue report cards?

When a student is enrolled with Elite, they are issued grades by their Content Teachers. Progress reports are emailed at the mid-point of each semester and report cards are emailed at the end of each of semester. Student grades can always be checked in real-time on the Canvas online platform.

Is there a way for a student to create a schedule that resembles a regular school day?

We specialize in personalizing your child’s education! Students have access to support from Content Teachers, their Teacher of Record, tutors and more! You will work with your child’s Teacher of Record to create an education plan and schedule that works for you and supports your child’s learning needs and goals!

Do students need their parents to fill out the Google Form or can they do it themselves?

Students can fill out the Google Form themselves. Once we know you are interested in joining Elite, we will be in touch to have an initial conversation about what you are looking for in a virtual education and begin the process of personalizing a virtual educational experience that works for you! You can fill out the form at this link: GOOGLE FORM.