Students experience the best of both worlds: Pleasanton Virtual Academy


Sophie Pereira

Virtual Academy teachers and students often participate in collaborative group discussions.

Sophie Pereira and Varsha Harnoor

At Amador Valley, students have the opportunity to engage in remote learning whilst attending school in person. The Pleasanton Virtual Academy, offers a flexible option for students to learn at home, in person, or online. Pleasanton Virtual Academy offers an online platform of a wide range of courses coupled with a PUSD teacher.

“The classes are run through a program called Edgenuity, [which is]  an online curriculum [with] video lessons. The curriculum tracks your progress” said Lisa Highfill, Teacher at Pleasanton Virtual Academy. 

Students may want to partake in the Virtual Academy program for various reasons. They can leave school early, and spread out work on their virtual academy assignments later throughout the day. 

“The reason I decided to do [virtual academy] was because I have some concentration issues in the afternoon. It was just easier to go home after 5th period and then work on Virtual Academy homework at night, ” said Dipannita Aeron (‘24). 

Virtual academy is located at the District Office campus near Village High School in Pleasanton, and opens after school gets out. Students have the option to work collaboratively with their assigned teachers based on the courses they take. While they do not have to attend in-person daily, they do have to come on campus for tests. 

“The [virtual academy]  teachers know how much you’re engaging in the classwork, and how much you’re struggling. They can come along and support you when it’s not going so well,” said Highfill

At the campus, students engage in discussions with their teachers in a classroom, asking questions and clarifying any doubts. The current teachers there can assist students in various subjects. 

“I like [virtual academy] because the teachers [there] are really talented and smart,” said Aeron. 

Virtual academy allows for a unique learning experience that comes from a non-traditional classroom setting. Students find they can manage their time more efficiently, and are more independent. 

“One of the Virtual Academy’s goals is to help students become more in charge of their own learning. It’s so they can be better prepared for whatever they choose to do after high school,” said Heather Pereira, Principal of Pleasanton Virtual Academy. 

The virtual academy teachers who instruct students want to help create balance in their lives.

“I believe the best benefits of taking classes through Virtual Academy is taking agency and ownership of your education. It’s a different way to think about a school day and how you want to spend that time. You’re building a lot of really important life skills to be independent and motivated on your own,” said Highfill.

Registration is active now, and the deadline to register for courses is Friday, February 10. Students can find more information at