LaunchED: What to know and how to join at the semester mark

The what, where, how, why, and when of LaunchEd, St. Vrain and Florida Virtual School’s fully online learning program


Marina Goter

Some students choose to enroll in LaunchED because they want to wait to continue partially in-person learning until there is an official COVID-19 vaccine, while others simply find that they learn better online.

When Mead High School announced the transition from online learning to hybrid learning, another option was offered for students who had health concerns or preferred to remain remote. This option is the St. Vrain LaunchED Virtual Academy, a fully online program for students anywhere from preschool to 12th grade. St. Vrain combined with Florida Virtual School to bring this program to our district.

According to the official SVVSD website, LaunchED “utilize[s] content from Florida Virtual School to deliver a rigorous and comprehensive educational experience that aligns with Colorado Academic Standards”.

SVVSD made it clear that LaunchED is not a homeschool program. Though families and home environments are crucial in the success of the program, “parents and guardians are not expected to serve as teachers”. Instead, St. Vrain educators who work for the program teach the students virtually.

Communication with these St. Vrain teachers comes in many forms. LaunchED utilizes the Schoology Learning Management System, direct phone lines and email addresses, WebEx rooms, and periodic times where parents, students, and teachers can meet virtually to “discuss student progress, learning habits, next steps, and overall academic development”.

Students remained in online learning through LaunchED for many different reasons. Some want to wait until there is an official COVID-19 vaccine before returning, while others are regularly exposed to those who are at high risk. In any case, if you feel that LaunchED is best for you, talk with your academic counselor about enrollment at the next grading period.

If the transition from hybrid is made, a student’s schedule will need to be redone to fit the courses offered. As explained by SVVSD, “Specialty and school-specific courses, such as pre-IB, IB, PTECH, PTEACH, Career Development Center, or Innovation Center courses will NOT be available through LaunchED.” Additionally, forms of personalization such as Gifted & Talented and Special Education are offered directly through the online program.

Generally, a day for a LaunchED student will include “live lessons anywhere from one to four hours a few days per week, with additional work to complete individually”. If they have after-school clubs or sports, they can continue those at their home school. If Mead High is not your primary home school, you will not be permitted to continue in sports or clubs at that school. In some cases, students may participate in an elective or few from their enrolled school (even if it’s not your home school) if LaunchED does not offer it. If you’re interested in doing that, make sure to talk with your counselor beforehand.

It is important to remember that “if a student has primary enrollment in a non-charter St. Vrain school, that enrollment will not be lost while they are engaged in LaunchED”. It will be similar to dual enrollment.

Additionally, keep in mind that the LaunchED program and hybrid learning are separate educational environments. It’s not going to be like hybrid days where you’re online, first hopping onto WebEx then working independently. According to the St.Vrain website, the main differences (and some similarities) between the two are laid out in the table below.

There is a tuition that comes with enrollment, but it is covered by the district for students K-12. The only tuition that will not be covered is the official AP class tuition. There is financial aid if needed.

The LaunchED students will be from all around the SVVSD district, so students will not necessarily be with people from their previous school. This also goes for their teachers.

SVVSD recognized that full time online learning is not for everyone. They said that “self-directed, independent, [and] flexible learners” are typically more successful in the program. If you enjoyed and felt comfortable during remote learning but aren’t too into hybrid, LaunchED may be a good route for you to look into.

If you believe that you’re interested in learning more about LaunchED Virtual Academy, talk with your family and counselors about moving towards enrollment at the semester mark.