Arbor Valley Academy is a private online high school with headquarters , as well as a campus, located in Ypsilanti Michigan. AVA was established in 2019 under its parent company, Global Educational Excellence. AVA was envisioned and launched by its director, Dr. Marwan Issa.
Arbor Valley Academy takes honor in providing an educational experience that is personalized to the individual student’s interests, needs, and long term goals. Our organization bases our practices off of the teaching philosophy that there should be no deadlines when it comes to student learning.. Students should be given the time they need in order to achieve mastery in a skill or subject, rather than fall under the pressure of set unit schedules.
In addition, we strongly believe students should be given multiple chances to achieve mastery, in the same way we don’t expect individuals to perfect a skill on the first try in the real world. AVA serves students who enter their educational career with needs that are often not met in traditional schools; needs relating to learning English as a second language, time and availability, and learning type. AVA is inclusive to all learners regardless of religion,race, incoming academic status, and language barrier.
AVA has a subprogram with The American Language Institute called “AVA-ALI” that specifically helps international students become proficient in English, gain a diploma, and enter an American university.
The American Language Institute
The American Language Institute (ALI) at The University of Toledo provides students, scholars, and area residents of international origin with academic language skills and American cultural knowledge to foster meaningful engagement with the university and the community. Through the coursework and extra-curricular offerings, ALI assists students in gaining cross-cultural skills.
ALI is the only intensive English program recognized by CEA, English USA, UCIEP in the region. We offer a flexible learning environment, both face to face and digitally. With a rolling admission, students can enroll during 5 periods in the school year. Study plans are individually tailored to help students reach English proficiency, and free tutoring is offered all year round. ALI objectively measures student learning goals outlined by the global scale of English (GSE)
Dr. Marwan Issa
Director and Founder
Dr. Marwan Issa has worked in both Education and technology for over a decade. He earned his bachelors in Computer science at the University of Michigan in 2004 and went on to earn a masters in Human Computer Interaction in 2006 at Umich as well. In 2011 he earned his PhD at Eastern Michigan University in Technology in Education. He concluded his higher ed with an additional masters degree at Umich in 2019 in business administration. Dr. Issa started his journey in education technology as a coordinator at Global Educational Excellence from 2005 to 2011. In 2006, he went on to be the president and founder of Schoolwide Solutions, an education technology company that creates software for schools both local and international. Today, along with Schoolwide Solutions and Arbor Valley Academy, Dr. Issa holds a position as chief operating officer at Global Educational Excellence.
Global Educational Excellence
Global Educational Excellence (GEE) is an educational management company that was founded in 1998. GEE is dedicated to offering communities exceptional schools of choice at no-cost to the families we serve. Our network of public school academies play a key role in the academic achievement of many students. Our curriculum is both rigorous and engaging. Students and teachers at GEE academies have access to state of the art technology and academic resources, ensuring that they are prepared with 21st Century skills. In addition, GEE academies offer world languages that include both Arabic and Spanish. Our students and teachers embrace character and culture, it’s what makes us successful in our approach in educating the diverse populations we so proudly serve and inspire. GEE operates 14 on-campus schools within Michigan, Ohio, and the Middle east.
Who does AVA Cater to?
AVA is a private high school that helps students create a pathway between their home country and enrolling at a reputable American university. AVA takes in students who would like to begin, continue, or complete their high school diploma, and students who have already graduated from high school and want an American high school diploma as well in order to improve their resume and gain easier access into American universities. AVA also helps students get into universities outside of the US by providing an American degree and universal curriculum model.
AVA is selective in who the school accepts for the sole fact that AVA offers individualized, flexible support on top of support in getting into an American university. We prioritize students who can verbalize clear short and long term goals, as well as students who have a sufficient grade point average and extracurricular history.
What does enrollment look like?
Enrollment at AVA consists of logging in daily and completing coursework on our curriculum software, Edgenuity. Classes are digital and not scheduled. You are able to log on and log off as you please as there is no direct live instruction. More in depth information on Edgenuity, please refer to the curriculum section of this packet.
AVA students start by meeting with their counselor and going over the education plan mapped out for them by the school. The education plan consists of needed coursework to graduate, as well as coursework that is recommended to take in order to be accepted into desirable higher education institutions. The education plan is curated for each individual student and their strengths, areas of improvement, accommodations, and goals. For the most part, students will be instructed to complete one course (0.5 credit) a month under the supervision of their teacher. The teacher will assign a course each month and enforce strict due dates for getting certain benchmarks. For instance, a teacher may ask that a student begins a course on the first of April, and complete 30% of the course by April 12th. This gives the student the privilege of logging in throughout the day and week when it is the most convenient for them and their busy day to day life. This ties back to the social-constructivist framework of education being a collaboration rather than a behaviorist model.
Students who score below passing for the English proficiency exam will be directed towards our partner ALI and will take the needed English coursework with them before beginning their online coursework with us. To learn more about what the ALI program entails, please refer to the right side of this packet under the same section titled “What does enrollment look like?”
As stated previously in the introduction section, AVA is very selective in who we accept as a student at our institution. AVA accepts students who have proven some level of self-sufficiency and drive in their personal and educational career. AVA understands the rigor of Chinese curriculum and institution acceptance rates, and takes this into account when determining who is eligible to enroll with us. AVA believes in creating new pathways for students with big goals and dreams.
The behavioral requirements are as follows:
- Is capable of being self-sufficient and independent in an online environment
- Is capable of meeting teacher-given deadlines
- Is capable of keeping academic integrity
- Is capable of responding regularly to academic emails from teachers and counselors
The academic requirements are as follows:
- A cover letter describing your background and desire to enroll at AVA
- Official transcripts from previous high school(s)
- 3.0 GPA or Grade Point Average
- Letter of Recommendation from a mentor or teacher
- Optional: extracurricular sample or writing sample
- An extracurricular sample would consist of sending a video of you playing an instrument, a picture of a piece of artwork you’ve completed, etc
- A writing sample could be an essay completed at a previous school or a personal writing project
The course-to-course graduation requirements are contingent on incoming transcripts. Putting that aside, most students who enroll at AVA through the AVA-ALI program will have already completed a high school diploma or be in their final year of high school. Based on this preliminary, most students will take 6 credits with us. 6 credits is the minimum any student can take at AVA in order to receive and diploma with us.
Specific graduation requirements are as follows:
- 1 credit of US history
- 1 credit of Senior Math
- 1 credit of art if not already taken
- At least 1 credit of English if the student places out of all ALI levels OR a completion of all ALI levels
Curriculum at AVA is expertly designed to incorporate core standards into an E-learning environment. Curriculum coursework is based on Michigan state requirements. All coursework is administered through Edgenuity, a leading provider of k-12 curriculum. It promotes standard based learning while also paving the way for more socratic methods of teaching and understanding.
Edgenuity is accredited by Cognia, the leading US organization for accrediting schools across the nation.
Edgenuity offers a wide range of courses to choose from, including STEM, liberal arts, honors, and AP.
Click the following LINK to view the Edgenuity course catalog, or if you’re not reading this digitally, type in the following on your browser.