Announcing Innovative Learning Centers

The biggest news from LAU, since LAU.

More social connections. More ways to learn. Less screen time. Introducing in-person courses at LAU.

Williamsburg Learning (WL) and Leadership Academy of Utah (LAU) are thrilled to announce a new way for LAU students in grades 6-10 to experience the transformational Williamsburg Curriculum and world-class mentors: in-person courses at LAU.

Yes, you read that right! Beginning this fall, LAU students throughout the state can participate in a pilot program where they’ll meet with other students and WL mentors face-to-face. Until now, The Williamsburg Curriculum has only been offered remotely—either live-online, in self-paced format, or through independent studies. Now, we’re offering an in-person experience that will reduce screen time, increase student engagement, and create more social connections.

We’ve prepared the following Q&A to tell you everything you need to know about this exciting new program. Read below to get the full details.

How will the new in-person program work?

Starting this fall, LAU students who live in or close to Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Pleasant Grove, or St. George will have the option to register for in-person classes at an all-new Williamsburg Innovative Learning Center (ILC). Each ILC will host one full day of in-person classes per week, led by trusted WL mentors. These in-person classes will integrate seamlessly with the rest of LAU’s online program, creating a world-class blended learning model for students across the state.

We’re excited to announce that Adam Hailstone, a longtime Williamsburg mentor and executive, will serve as director of the new in-person program for 2019-20. Adam will be visiting each ILC regularly to ensure a smooth experience for parents, students, mentors, and LAU administration throughout the year.

Each ILC is subject to minimum enrollment requirements. If one or more ILC has insufficient enrollment, we will be unable to open it this year.

Why are WL and LAU offering this new option?

We believe that education should always be evolving to meet students’ needs. We created our in-person program to address three core needs felt by many of our students:

  1. The need for in-person social connection
  2. The need to experience a variety of learning styles (including kinesthetic learning)
  3. The need to disconnect from screens and engage with projects in the real world

By fulfilling each of these needs deeply, we believe our new in-person program will help students reach new levels of academic and personal success.

For what grades will in-person courses be provided this year?

For 2019-20, we’re excited to offer in-person courses for students in grades 6-10. Students in grades 11-12 can also participate if they have not yet completed the courses we are offering in-person. For more details, see “Which courses will be offered in-person?” below.

In addition to in-person versions of our existing courses, we are excited to announce an all new in-person course for 2019-20: Outdoor Adventures. Hosted by Williamsburg Adventures, this course will feature an exciting variety of outdoor activities that all students (grades 6-12) can complete for elective or PE credit.

Where will ILCs be offered in fall 2019?

We are planning to open the first ILCs in Ogden, Logan, Salt Lake City, Pleasant Grove, and St. George. In future years, we hope to open ILCs in many more areas throughout the state.

Each ILC is subject to minimum enrollment requirements, so help us spread the word about this exciting new option! See “How can parents help ensure sufficient enrollment at each ILC?” below.

Which courses will be offered in-person for fall 2019?

For each grade level, all in-person courses will be offered together as a complete block. For example, a grade 9 student enrolled in the in-person program will take Earth Science, Personal Leadership, Fine Arts, and an elective—all in-person on the same day. For the 2019-20 school year, WL is offering the following blocks of courses at each ILC:

Grades 6-7

  • STEM 6/7
  • Leadership 6/7
  • Fun, new middle school elective

Grade 8

  • STEM 8
  • Leadership 8
  • Fun, new middle school elective

(Students in grades 6-8 will also take part in a Study Hour where they will complete assignments and get hands-on support from a program coordinator.)

Grade 9

  • Earth Science
  • Personal Leadership
  • Fine Arts
  • Elective

Grade 10

  • Biology
  • Social Leadership
  • Fine Arts
  • Elective

Students in grades 11 and 12 can enroll in the in-person block if they still need both Earth Science and Personal Leadership or Biology and Social Leadership. Students in these grades who do not need these courses should not enroll in the in-person block. 11th and 12th grade students can also enroll in our all new Outdoor Adventures in-person course.

Finally, as an exception, we will offer 11-12th grade students the opportunity to enroll in individual in-person electives if we have extra space. We will notify all 11-12th grade students ASAP if we determine that an ILC will have extra elective seats available.

Is space limited at each ILC?

Yes, space is limited, so we encourage you to enroll ASAP!

With that said, we also need to reach the minimum required enrollment numbers to open each ILC. So, invite your friends once you’ve enrolled!

On what day will in-person courses be held in my area?

Each ILC will host in-person classes on the following schedule:

  • Logan – Thursday (grades 6-10)
  • Ogden – Tuesday (grades 6-10)
  • Salt Lake – Tuesday (grades 6-10)
  • Pleasant Grove – Tuesday (grades 6-8) and Thursday (grades 6-10)
  • St. George – Tuesday (grades 6-10)

In-person courses will be held once a week. Does that mean there is an online class period as well?

No. In-person class periods will be longer than most class periods in our online courses, so students will only need one per week. Students will use time on a different day to complete assignments for their in-person courses, which they will submit using Canvas. There will be no additional online class period for in-person courses.

Can students choose to take just one or two in-person courses?

For 2019-20, students must enroll in the full-day in-person block (including Science/STEM, Leadership, and electives) to participate in the in-person program. Students may not enroll in just one or two in-person courses.

Can students enroll in only the in-person block for fall 2019?

Yes! For 2019-20, LAU will offer students the option to enroll in the in-person block only. However, we encourage most students to enroll in online courses with LAU as well (such as math, humanities or social studies, and language arts). By doing so, students will get to experience the transformational Williamsburg Curriculum in all subjects.

Students who want to complete the full WL academic program and graduate from LAU should register for the online courses listed in the table under “In which online courses should students enroll?” below. WL and LAU are working hard to ensure the online and in-person portions of our program will compliment each other deeply.

Will students who only enroll in the in-person block for fall 2019 receive laptops, books, and a seat at Elevation?

Yes! Students who enroll in the in-person block will receive an LAU laptop to use throughout the school year. LAU will pay for all of their books and course materials (including science materials), and students who are 14 or older will have the option to participate in Elevation for no cost!

Who else will receive laptops, books, and a seat at Elevation?

All students who enroll in at least three middle school courses or four high school courses, whether online or in-person, will receive an LAU laptop, have all of their books and materials paid for (including science materials), and (for students who are 14 or older) have the option of participating in Elevation at no cost!

How will families register for in-person courses?

Parents will register students for all in-person courses via SIS. To do this, sign into SIS, select the student you want to register, click “Registration,” and then in the “Leadership” tab, select just one of the following available blocks:

  1. “[Location] [Day] In-person Block for Grades 6/7 (STEM 6/7, Lead 6/7, Elective)”
  2. “[Location] [Day] In-person Block for Grade 8 (STEM 8, Lead 8, Elective)”
  3. “[Location] [Day] In-person Block for Grade 9 (Earth Sci, Pers LD, and Electives)”
  4. “[Location] [Day] In-person Block for Grade 10 (Bio, Soc LD & Electives)”

After enrolling for one of these blocks in SIS, WL will add the individual in-person classes to the student’s enrollment in SIS.

What might the schedule look like at each ILC?

The schedule at ILCs is designed with both parents and students in mind. Parents can drop off all participating children (in all grades) at 9:00 AM and pick everyone up at 3:15 PM. Students will have a full day of fun, project-based, transformational learning experiences.

The specific times of each course throughout the day will vary by location. We will announce exact times closer to the beginning of the school year. Please note that enrolled students may not be on-site at an ILC except during their in-person class day.

Here is a sample schedule of a day at an ILC:

Will students still complete assignments online?

Yes. All WL courses (including the in-person versions) will continue to be housed in Canvas, our online learning management system. Students taking in-person courses will submit their assignments in Canvas.

What about students who do not or cannot participate at ILCs?  

We recognize that some students will be unable to attend ILCs because of schedule conflicts or geographic limitations. These students will still have WL’s complete range of live-online and self-paced courses available to them through LAU. They are not losing any options!

If enough students participate in ILCs this year, we plan to create many more throughout the state in future years.

Why did WL and LAU choose Science, Leadership, and Electives for the in-person program?

We chose STEM/Science because we know students love completing hands-on projects in groups with a fun mentor there to guide them. We chose Leadership because we wanted students to have transformational experiences together in-person, and Electives so students can have fun learning new skills together.

What electives will be offered in-person?

For middle school, we plan to hire local instructors to teach engaging electives in each area. For high school, we plan to offer electives according to this schedule:

Fall semester

  • STEM/coding elective
  • Locally determined elective

Winter semester

  • Fine Arts elective
  • Locally determined elective

Please email us if you know a talented person who could potentially mentor an elective (for high school or middle school) in one of the regions where we’re planning to open an ILC this year!

In which online courses should full-time students enroll?

Students in grades 6-10 who want to complete all suggested courses for the 2019-20 school year should enroll in the courses listed in the table below:

This course sequence will help students who take the in-person block stay on track towards graduation, and even put them a little ahead of schedule in their junior and senior years.

As mentioned above, students in grades 11 and 12 have the option to enroll in the in-person block if they need both Earth Science and Personal Leadership or Biology and Social Leadership.

Learn more about the courses required in each grade here. If you have questions about what classes are required for graduation, email Kate Chaney, LAU’s Academic Counselor.

Can students who sign up for the in-person block also take live-online math, which is four days a week?   

Yes. Math mentors will be hosting live math class four times per week starting this fall (in previous years, tutors led two of the four classes each week and mentors led the other two). On Mondays and Wednesdays, these math courses will focus on instruction and new concepts. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they’ll focus on application and review. Students who participate in the in-person block will miss one of the live sessions that focuses on application and review. Instead, they can watch the recording and complete the assignments on a day when they are not attending the in-person block. Math mentors will be prepared to accommodate students who enroll in the in-person block.

What happens if not enough students enroll in an ILC? Is there a minimum enrollment requirement for an ILC to be viable?  

Yes. For each grade level, each ILC needs a minimum of 18 students enrolled for that block to be viable. (For example, we’ll need 18 or more students to enroll for the 9th-grade in-person block in Logan in order to move forward with offering that block at that location.) Please be aware that if we do not reach the required minimum enrollment, we may need to close some or all of the in-person blocks at a planned ILC.

You can help us successfully launch this new option by sharing this page with your family and friends! We’d greatly appreciate your support.

How exactly can parents help ensure sufficient enrollment at each ILC?

Parents who live near an ILC and want to ensure its successful launch can help in two ways:

  1. Share the link to this page with your family and friends and encourage them to apply at LAU and enroll in their nearest in-person block.
  2. Help us identify excellent elective options and talented instructors in your area who can help attract new students to the in-person program.

Do we already know the specific locations of ILC facilities in each area?

Not as of early April 2019. LAU is searching for facilities that allow us to rent one day each week, have a minimum of four classrooms available, have sufficient storage space for folding tables and chairs, are conveniently located, and are safe for our students. We are currently working on leads in each area. Please let us know if you are aware of any facilities we should consider!

Why didn’t WL and LAU announce this earlier?

Throughout the past year, WL and LAU have been actively seeking ways to address students’ needs for more social connection, more hands-on learning, and less screen time. We developed several possible options before settling on this one. Once we realized ILCs were the very best option for students, we decided to launch this pilot program as early as possible—rather than wait a full year.