While many students lost ground when the Covid pandemic temporarily shut down schools, Alivia Angelina Erbella Apodaca found her sweet spot studying remotely.
“I get easily distracted by my friends at in-person school, so studying at home works better for me,” says Alivia.
But that ceased to be an option at her traditional school when the buildings re-opened. Plunged back into the whirl of bustling hallways and crowded classrooms, she found herself falling behind. “My grades got really bad.”
But then she found out about Clark County Acceleration Academies, which partners with the public school district to provide a flexible, personalized option for learners who — like Alivia — struggle in traditional settings.
At CCAA, she was able to take one class at a time, follow a personalized but rigorous curriculum, and do most of her work at home — while still receiving as much one-on-one coaching as needed from Acceleration Academies educators.
“I really love the teachers,” she says. “If I needed help, all I had to do was call them or go into school.”
Alivia transferred to CCAA halfway through her junior year. After enrolling, she not only made up the ground she had lost but earned enough credits to graduate a full semester early.
Her grades rebounded strongly, so much so that she qualified for a Millenium Scholarship, which provides up to $10,000 a year for high-achieving Nevada students. Alivia made plans to enroll at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and major in journalism and media studies.
“My dream my whole life is to travel and write,” says Alivia, who has written songs and a mystery novel, “The Twisted Truth,” about a family who find themselves in a house they think is haunted.
Acceleration Academies asks students — who are called “graduation candidates” to remind them of their goals — to take one course at a time, demonstrating mastery before moving on to the next. Alivia said that worked well for her.
“I wouldn’t get overwhelmed with assignments and classes,” she says.
The ability to do coursework at her own pace also helped her to keep her full-time job as a greeter and cashier at Target, a position that not only gave her spending money and savings for college but also allowed her to help with family expenses.
“I would not have been able to have a full-time job if I was in in-person school,” she says.
Alivia credits graduation candidate advocate Katya Riley with providing encouragement and, when she would fall off course, accountability. “She would text me every day and say ‘I’m proud of you’ and ‘You can do this.’ ”
Clark County Acceleration Academies accepts new students on a rolling basis. For more information, check out the academy web page and fill out an online enrollment form.