Does anyone have experience with California Virtual Academies?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by katrinkakat, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Feb 27, 2009

    On Edjoin, California's teacher job search website, their are many listings for California Virtual Academies. I did a google search and see good reviews. Their salaries seem competitive with public schools. Does anyone have any experience with them? Thanks!
     
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  3. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Feb 27, 2009

    I have experience with the program from all the tutoring I've done with child actors on set. I really, really like CAVA and really, really, want to work for them. :) I do know a little about the program and how it works - feel free to PM me, or ask me questions here so others can see as well.
     
  4. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Thanks raneydae, have you applied online through edjoin yet?
    Is the teaching sometimes done online? It sounds intriguing!
     
  5. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Well, I officially applied this morning for both a high school math position and a K-8 position (I have both a math and multiple subject credential). I think they are just building up their eligibility pool right now, so I'm trying to not be too hopeful...though it's pretty much my dream job. :)

    K-8 is not really "online" teaching, but online management of independent study...or at least this is how I think of it. The teachers are responsible for guiding their students/parents through the curriculum, grade papers, occasionally meet with students, and handle all the paperwork and organization. Depending on your area, you may have once a week Community Days where you get a chance to teach in-person classes. OR, you may go around to your students and do tutoring sessions once a week or so.

    For High School, it is more of an "online" teaching position. I believe they use the Elluminate platform to teach. Students can log in for video chats or group sessions. Teachers create online lessons that go long with the text and make and collect assignments virtually.

    I think I'd ideally like a High School position, as I was a Electronic/Digital Media major in college and like to work online. However, I'd be quite happy with a K-8 position as well! From what I've heard about virtual teaching, there are definitely pros and cons though...

    Ooh...I'm not holding my breath, but I hope I someday get a job with them, haha! :)
     
  6. Sunflowers

    Sunflowers Rookie

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    I'm bumping this post to see if either of you have an update, or if anyone else has any experience with CAVA since 2008. I am really intrigued and would love to hear more about what the teacher side of it entails. All that I have been able to read about the student experience sounds wonderful, but what do the teacher think? What does a typical day/week look like?

    Thanks!
     
  7. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Dec 13, 2011

    Wow, apparently I was subscribed to this thread from almost 3 years ago and was emailed this recent update.

    This is my third year teaching at CAVA. I love, love, love my job and can answer any questions about it. However, as a heads up, there isn't quite as much "teaching" involved in a teacher position here...it's more administrative and offering support for families. Well, it does depend some on the specific position you're in (K8 runs a little differently than HS, so I don't know as much about HS), but for the most part, here are the main parts of the job:

    Online staff meetings 1-2hrs. each week. Welcome new families and introduce them to their requirements of the school. Continually monitor online progress and work with families to make sure compliancy is being met. Teach one 30min. online class per week on an assigned topic. Be able to answer questions and provide curriculum and basic tech support to families. Work with other teachers to organize monthly field trips as well as administer state testing. Collect quarterly work samples.

    The most difficult part of the job is tracking down those families who do not make much progress and/or are difficult to contact. Teachers/parents/students don't see each other on a regular basis, so you can often feel a bit like an island to yourself. There's no school office to step into and get quick answers to things - most of your contact with coworkers is done all through email, so it can sometimes take longer to get things done. But then again, most of the teachers/families, by nature of the school, tend to be more flexible people, so for the mos part, everyone is very easygoing. The salary, while decent, is not great and you can probably gt better pay, for just as much work, as a regular brick & mortar school. It is not as easy of a job as it initially seems, so don't be fooled into thinking that it's a cushy job. :)

    However, it is the perfect job for me! If you are a person who is a self-starter, who works best independently and without explicit direction, who is ambitious and enjoys implementing new ideas, who likes bringing order to chaos, and who doesn't mind hard work and can get by on a bit lower of a regular teacher's pay - then this job is for you too. :)

    (I actually don't have a regular teacher position, but more of a specialized position as an Algebra support teacher, so I actually DO get to spend the majority of my time teaching live online classes...but I'm in the minority here for getting to do that.)
     
  8. Sunflowers

    Sunflowers Rookie

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    Wow, thank you SO much for all the information!! This is exactly what I was hoping you'd say! I'm not looking for an "easy" job, but I was so intrigued at the idea of a virtual charter school. I have my Texas certification for math 4-8 and 8-12, so whatever that translates to in California is what I will apply for. My husband and I are moving to Sacramento in March, so I will definitely apply for next year. My husband is the main breadwinner for us, so as long as I'm contributing a living wage, I'm very flexible as far as salary goes. Thanks again so much for the information!

    A few more questions... do you work from home all the time? How often do you see the families face-to-face? Is it a lot of driving or do most of your students live near you? Is there any reimbursement for travel? Is the K12 curriculum very rigid, or do you tend to interject some of your own lessons into the scope and sequence? How competitive is the application process? This job sounds amazing!
     
  9. msteachnyc

    msteachnyc New Member

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    Jul 4, 2013

    Being Hired With CAVA

    I really hope this reaches you all because I know this post is OLD! Anyhow, I've recently (last week) applied with CAVA for a K-8 teaching position and have completed their TECH Test Assessment and other required Assessment as well. I feel like I totally bombed the assessment (not the Tech Test), I was so nervous...

    How long before you heard back from CAVA when you got hired?

    Was it difficult getting hired with them?
     
  10. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    I am STILL subscribed to this original thread from over 4 years ago and got these latest posts. :) I have not been to these message boards in YEARS, but as I am a current CAVA employee, I will do my best to answer any questions.

    mrsteachnyc - I did not have to any kind of assessment when I was initially hired in 2009. However, I think my 2nd or 3rd year, they started asking new applicants AND current employees to take an assessment that might be the one you are talking about. Did it have math and language arts questions like analogies on it? As well as a kind of personality test? If so, yeah, we all (current employees) thought it was kind of weird and none of know anything about our results! I'm pretty sure I did well on the math part (I do teach math afterall, ha ha, I hope I did well on it!), but I know of a lot of other teachers who felt that they did bad too, but they still work at CAVA, so who knows?? I wouldn't necessary worry about the results of that assessment. I really don't know what it means/shows, or if CAVA really makes hiring decisions based on it.

    Was it difficult getting hired with them?
    Yes. But also no. I first applied with CAVA for the 2008-2009 SY. I never heard anything from my application. I applied again for the 2009-2010 SY, however, I knew a CAVA family who put me in contact with a CAVA Teacher who I asked questions of, whom I think in turn, personally recommend me to CAVA HR which gave me a tiny leg up. I was first contacted by CAVA in the fall of 2009, 1 week into the school year at the high school I was teaching at. They offered me a long-tern sub position for a maternity leave. Since I had JUST started a new teaching job at a new school, I unfortunately was not at a place to accept the position, but I did tell them that if they had a full-time position available that I would be willing to quit the current job I had to teach at CAVA instead. Crazily, the next day they called and said that they had a full-time position available that just opened up. I decided to accept and I gave the school I had started at a 1-week notice. It sucked for the school that I left (and the poor students; I was only their teacher for 2 weeks :(), but I had to do what was best for me, and CAVA was the best for me.

    How long before you heard back from CAVA when you got hired?
    I applied in late spring 2009, had a basic phone interview over the summer, and was not offered a position until early September. It is VERY common with CAVA for positions to open up in the fall, as student enrollments come in. This is of course, incredibly difficult for teachers who want/need to have secured jobs by summer's end, but unfortunately, it's just the way it works that CAVA doesn't usually hire until the fall (they also hire throughout the school year too).

    Do you need to live in the county for which you apply in order to teach?
    I don't think so, but I'm not positive. I believe that you just have to have a California teaching credential. HOWEVER, unless you live close to a different county line and could feasibly travel to that county, you probably won't get hired unless you live in that county. Especially for K-8 positions. You do have to meet with families on a quarterly basis (there are some families you can get away with semester meetings, but plan for quarterly). I think that High School teachers do not necessarily need to be located close to their assigned families though.

    So I'd say that for High School, go ahead and apply. You might not get hired if they are looking specifically for counties outside LA, Orange or SD, but you never know. The worst that can happen is that you don't get the job, right?
     
  11. msteachnyc

    msteachnyc New Member

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    THANK YOU SO MUCH

    Raneydae: Thank you so much for responding & yes that is the assessment that I was making reference to. I just felt like the analogies were ridiculous!!! Math was perfectly fine but the personality assessment was a bit redundant. Anyhow, thanks for responding and I'll keep my hopes high :)
     
  12. anewstart101

    anewstart101 Cohort

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    It seems like the pay is really low. . .
     
  13. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Yes, the pay is on the lower end. While this is not the case for every CAVA teacher, I'd say that the majority of us have little ones at home, and often, there is a husband/another adult bringing in income as well. Many teachers are happy at CAVA even with the lower pay because they are not surviving on it alone. Again, this by no means the case for EVERY teacher, just the majority as the whole.

    You also have to consider that you already save money by not commuting to work everyday, not having to buy a new teaching wardrobe, not having to buy lunches or classroom supplies, etc. Also, though most CAVA teachers do still need to have some sort of part-time childcare available, most teachers do not have to pay the extra expense for full time childcare. All of these things factor in and can make the lower salary more worthwhile.

    But yeah, I'm not going to lie, the salary is not awesome. But I still like this job a lot, so it's worth it to me.
     
  14. GabrielleDC

    GabrielleDC New Member

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    Aug 17, 2013

    Time off?

    Hi Raneydae,
    Just a couple of questions for you, if you don't mind ;). I see that the full-time work day at CAVA is 8:30-4:30. If one is employed with CAVA, and they are not available for a brief time (picking up kids at school, on another call, etc.), how does that work? I assume you have to pretty much be available at all times. Can calls be forwarded to a cell phone if you want to run errands during a lunch hour? How about sick days or taking days off for other purposes (like dr. appt., appt. for kids, etc.). Do you get days off during the regular school year? CAVA has a different school calendar than my children so logistically it would be interesting since some breaks (spring break in particular, president's day, etc.) are different. I'm just wanting to feel things out before I even apply. Thanks in advance for any information you can share!

    Gabrielle
     
  15. GabrielleDC

    GabrielleDC New Member

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    Aug 17, 2013

    And one more quick question (sorry....) - how does STRS work? Are you pro-rated on your years in some way or do you receive full credit for each year you work at CAVA?
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm just happy to see another online teacher on here! So many tend to vanish for one reason or another. I love what I do and how I do it, but raneydae has done an excellent job in explaining some of the drawbacks ( creating and enforcing engagement from a distance being the toughest aspect).
     
  17. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Aug 18, 2013

    Hi catnfiddle! I do remember your name as the other virtual teacher here. :) I once was fairly active on this message board back when I was a first-year teacher (at a brick and mortar high school), but I admit that the only time I ever come back now is when I get an email notification that someone has posted something new on this particular thread.

    GabrielleDC -unfortunately, I don't really know anything about STRS! I probably should, but at the time I was hired, I was jut thankful for the job that I didn't even pay attention to retirement info. I actually want to say that we don't use STRS, but some other retirement savings program? Oh gosh, I really don't know, but it's something that I probably should look into eventually, huh?

    As far as time off - one of the best things about this job is its flexibility. This does depend somewhat on the position you have with CAVA though. Regular K8 teachers can pretty much plan their workday around their schedule, as long as you are available by phone/email from 8:30-4:30. And both work calls and work emails can easily be re-routed to cell phones. :) There are MANY CAVA teachers who have to drop off kids and pick them up from school during the day, as these things are done even when "on the clock". As long as this small errands don't interfere with your ability to respond to emails/calls in a reasonable time, then no one has a problem with it.

    CAVA does give 10 vacation days a year, BUT, a lot of teachers don't take them, just because you can almost always work a day around your plans and can work remotely and don't need to take a day off. I've been on vacation and still been at work! I mean, it's not a super fun vacation when you're tied to your computer for hours, but it can definitely be done. (Technically, you do have to remain in the state of California though; if you want to leave the state, you're supposed to take the day off.) I've even been in the middle of traveling before on a work day, and just pulled over at a Starbucks at the required time in order to teach an online class.

    High School may be a bit different though. I think they have more "live" instruction time required each day which would limit your flexibility in schedule some. But CAVA still is pretty flexible and the majority of CAVA teachers are parents with younger kids, so it's something we all understand.

    Spring Break may be slightly difficult, for a couple reasons:
    a) We have state testing the week before and after our Spring Break. We are not allowed to request time off during testing, as it is obviously a very busy time. So you would not be able to take vacation days during this time in order to align your break with your kids. However, if you aren't planning to go on a vacation, but just spend Spring Break at home, then it won't be a problem either way, except for maybe...
    b) I'm not gonna lie, working from home with kids around is not easy or fun. My daughter is 2 and while my husband's job allows him to be home part-time with her to help me, there's a good part of the day where I'm trying to watch an energetic 2-yr old AND answer work emails. I unfortunately admit that I probably let her watch way more cartoons than I ever thought I'd let my kid watch. :eek: But if your kids are older and if it's only for a week, you should be totally fine having them at home when you work over their Spring Break. Just give them something to keep them occupied.

    I hope that helped answer your questions some! :)
     
  18. Teachingheart

    Teachingheart Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2013

    Testing/ time frame

    So I applied to CAVA back in April or May and I just got an email to take the tech assessment and the other assessment. I took them last night and I'm wondering how long it usually takes to hear back from them? This job is right up my alley as I just resigned from my teaching job to stay home with my child! I'm trying not to get my hopes up since I figured they had passed me over in April! It's so hard with virtual schools I think because there's no face to face or subbing so it's hard to prove your ability! Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  19. GabrielleDC

    GabrielleDC New Member

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    Thank you!

    Thank you so much for that info! The ads on EdJoin specifically mention CalSTRS being available so that's something you might want to check into. I already have some "credit" from previous jobs and would love to continue contributing for a future pension.

    I love the flexibility aspect and am happy to hear it sounds like it's pretty easy to be away from home and work remotely. My husband has been doing this with his sales job for years so I know what it looks like (stopping to return calls while traveling somewhere, going back to the hotel room while we're at the pool, etc.). Not the same kind of vacation but certainly do-able for a day or two if necessary.

    I am planning to teach K8 - I have a multiple subject and supplementary credential in ELA so no high school for me :).

    I see on the website that testing is taking place April 14-May 2 (a huge window) and unfortunately my children's break is April 14-18, right smack dab in the beginning of that window. We've already scheduled a vacation, albeit within the state of California but still, I will not be home for that one week. Now I'm not sure I should bother applying - hmmm. But then again, I would hate to miss the opportunity so I'll have to weigh that and wonder if I'd even get hired.

    Thank you again SO much for that information in helping me decide whether or not to pursue working at CAVA! (I have a friend employed on the tech side who could possibly help me get hired so I'm going to talk to him too.)

    Gabrielle
     
  20. Teachingheart

    Teachingheart Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2013

    RaineyDae- I just looked over my application to CAVA on edjoin and I checked the box saying I wouldn't be available from 8-5, but I would be from 8-3! I have no idea why I checked it that way, but I am available from 8-5 no problem. Would you recommend that I call and let them know of this, or should I wait to see if they call for an interview? I don't want to seem pushy, but I also don't want them to pass me by because I checked the wrong box! Thanks for any help you can offer!
     
  21. ttvierra

    ttvierra New Member

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    Cava Assessments

    I just took the CAVA assessments. Does that mean I passed the 1st initial application phase and how long now until I hear anything?
     
  22. ttvierra

    ttvierra New Member

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    Jun 28, 2014

    Interviwed


    Hi I just interviewed yesterday and showed my lesson to two judges. How long now until they may hire?
     
  23. ttvierra

    ttvierra New Member

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    Also, my microphone went out for about ten second when I tried to group them. :(
     
  24. malinden

    malinden New Member

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    Jul 5, 2014

    Does anyone know if retired teachers can teach at CAVA? I just retired in June 2014 and I am wondering if I am eligible...would love to try this. Thank you.
     
  25. MsHelene

    MsHelene New Member

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    CAVA Interview

    Hi. What was the interview teaching lesson like? Is it teaching a certain subject? Did your teach like it was a real classroom? Did you get hired?

    I am going to apply soon.
     
  26. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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  27. Rodrm

    Rodrm Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2015

    I'm a new teacher. Is there anyway to get your credential cleared while teaching at CAVA?
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Rodrm, your best bet is probably to put this question to the credential analysts at your county office of education.
     
  29. Rodrm

    Rodrm Rookie

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    May 25, 2015

    Hello! I'm scheduled to interview with CAVA next week!
    Do I need a camera? Any advice for the interview?

    Any advice would be great!
     
  30. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Good luck, Rodrm! There is a bunch of information about online teaching at this thread. You'll be great.
     
  31. greenbean6

    greenbean6 Companion

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    @Rodrm Have you had your interview yet? How did it go? Any information you can give me?
     

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