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A full-time online learning option for all grades

Through collaboration with caregivers and teachers, the Gilroy Unified School District is offering the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA), a quality educational experience for grades TK-12, as an alternative option to distance learning.

GUSD will begin the school year with distance learning for all students in grades preschool-12. In-person instruction will resume when State and County guidelines for reopening have been met.  GUSD is offering the VLA option for families who are concerned about an in-person return to school at any point in the 2020-21 school year.  Parents DO NOT need to complete a Virtual Learning Academy application UNLESS they wish to register their child(ren) in the program. If children are enrolled in GUSD schools, they are automatically registered and will participate in distance learning.  

Commitment: GUSD's Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) is a full school year commitment.


Support: Students will be supported daily by a GUSD teacher with core subject area content and enrichment opportunities.

At home: Caregivers will be the learning guides for their children as they work through online course materials. 


Partnership: GUSD has partnered with Edmentum, a fully-accredited virtual curriculum provider.


All GUSD schools will begin the school year with distance learning but may return to in-person learning if the pandemic eases. The District is also offering the VLA, a separate year-long online program that will  last the entire school year, whether the pandemic improves or not. What’s the difference? What is the best choice for your family?  If you would like to withdraw VLA application, please email Kathleen Biermann (

Distance Learning

  • Live teaching from GUSD teachers
  • Set daily schedule, which is TBD
  • Return to in-person instruction when state/ local guidelines are met
  • Board-adopted, standards-based curriculum
  • Specialized programs offered 
  • All GUSD students are automatically enrolled


Virtual Learning Academy (VLA)

  • Independent learning (parent or caregiver involvement is essential)
  • Flexible schedule
  • Full-year commitment
  • Prescribed curriculum through Edmentum (Calvert for K-5 grade students, Courseware for 6-12 grade students.)
  • Specialized programs are not available
  • Application period closed July 29

BOTH PROGRAMS: Regardless of the program that a student is enrolled in, daily attendance is mandatory and will be recorded by teachers.  A-F grades will be assigned to students in middle and high school. Elementary school students will receive grades on a standards-based report card system.

IMPORTANT: Read through the content on this page to learn more about how the VLA will be is structured, estimates of time commitments, how to apply and more. 


Elementary (TK-5th grades)
Kathleen Biermann

Secondary (6th-12th grades)
Dr. Deborah Padilla


July 14: Board approves GUSD reopening plan

July 17: Information and enrollment options provided to families

July 29: VLA application period closes

July 30: Sections solidified for VLA

August 7: Parents receive confirmation of placement

August 12: Students begin classes.

ELA 90-120 minutes*
Math 45-60 minutes*
Social Studies 30 minutes*
Science 30 minutes*
Elective/ Enrichment 30-60 minutes*

Plus teacher instructional support daily
* approximation of time each day

Caregivers are critical in their child's educational success in GUSD's VLA.

TK-2nd grades: Caregivers spend 3-4 daily hours

3rd-12th grades: Time commitment varies, but caregiver support is essential

What to expect

A student enrolled in the virtual academy will: 

  • Access courses 24/7, from any computer connected to the Internet; many courses are optimized for mobile devices, including tablets. 
  • Work closely with supportive, GUSD teachers who are committed to building strong relationships with both students and caregivers. 
  • Have access to core courses in grades K-5 in ELA, Math, Social Studies and Science, and enrichment courses like P.E. and Art.
  • Have access to curriculum in grades 6-12 including core courses, electives, career and technical education, and advanced courses. 
  • Participate in engaging activities designed to meet the needs of all learners, including videos, audio content, and problem-based interactive lessons. 
  • Stay on track with pacing and progress-monitoring tools. 
  • Remain part of the school community, including participation in activities and athletics open to any GUSD student, if applicable. 

Please note:  

All requests to attend the VLA are evaluated and approved or denied by the District consistent with applicable state and federal laws. 

Requests to return to a GUSD school or to join the VLA during the year will be considered based upon space availability. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The district provides all applicants equal opportunities without regard to sex, ethnic group identification, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition or pregnancy, veteran status, gender or actual or perceived sexual orientation.