Westside Academy opened its doors in August of 2012 with a small class of 13 students. Within two years, Westside Academy had a waiting list for the second semester. Last year, we started our waiting list when we were at capacity in January. This year it looks like our waiting list will start in October.
Mrs. Rutkowski-Hines, Westside Academy's first principal, took over the Los Angeles County continuation school that used to exist in the same location. The school was completely revamped from top to bottom and was opened as the first program of its kind in California to use a home school curriculum blended with expected daily attendance.
The reason for the initial blended program is to address statistics that show that students interacting with a fully virtual curriculum do not achieve at the same rate as students in a traditional setting. When students interact with virtual curriculum without adult intervention and guidance, 70% of children in virtual programs do not meet growth rates at the same rate as their peers. Growth studies done at Westside Academy indicate that the adult intervention piece is highly significant in student achievement and adequately addresses the flaw in many virtual programs.
A separate study followed 12 students of varying abilities. These students were used because they were long time Westside students and they spent their entire year at Westside Academy. 25% of the students went from either below basic or far below basic to proficient in language arts and/or math. These impressive statistics confirmed that the shortfalls in a virtual program could be adequately addressed by proper configuration.
In April of 2016, Mrs. Rutkowski-Hines was voted Administrator of the Year for alternative education by both Westside Union School District and by ACSA Region XV (Association of California School Administrators) for her innovations in alternative education.
Westside Academy considers the "whole child." We have a licensed counselor who comes to our school every two weeks to do "social lessons" with all of the students. Students take the time to explore what diversity looks like and they address tough topics such as bullying, anger, substance abuse, depression, death, or other topics that the students may be struggling with.
Westside Academy has had a 100% graduation rate from 8th grade, and our virtual curriculum is extremely rigorous. We cover the same California standards that are covered in all other Westside Union School District classes. We are proud to offer a large graduation ceremony at the end of each year to celebrate our students' success!