Empire Virtual Learning Academy

Grades 9-12 Newsletter 1/13/2021

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Dear Students & Families

Happy New Year! I hope you each had a wonderful Winter Break and were able to spend quality time with those you love. We are now at the half-way point of the second trimester. Keep up the hard work to stay on pace in each of your online courses. Please reach out if you need anything from the Empire team to help you be successful. This newsletter is to keep you in the loop on what is going on at Empire and at BNL. If there is information you would like to see shared in future newsletters, please let me know.


Mrs. Clark


Be sure to find @Empire Virtual Learning Academy on facebook and give us a like! Announcements will be posted regularly to our FB page as well!

Upcoming Testing


The PSAT will be given at BNL on January 26th. All 10th graders are encouraged to participate in this test. Any junior who signed up to take the PSAT in the Fall should also plan to attend. Students should arrive at BNL by 8:00 am, bring two #2 (non-mechanical) pencils, and a calculator. Students will test until 12:00 Noon.

Reasons to take the PSAT:

1. It familiarizes you with the test questions and format of the SAT. Lots of students wonder about the difference between the PSAT and SAT. The PSAT is not an exact replica of the SAT, but the questions, test formats, and scoring are similar. The PSAT, like the SAT, includes three multiple-choice tests: Reading, Writing and Language, and Mathematics. It does not include the SAT’s optional essay test.

2. You’ll get a “dress rehearsal” for test day. Taking the PSAT in a classroom, with other students, under strict time limits with a proctor present is the closest simulation you’ll get to taking the real SAT. This “dry run” may help you feel less nervous when you take the SAT.

3. Your PSAT results can guide your test prep. Your PSAT scores should highlight your strengths and any areas of improvement that you need to work on before you take the SAT. In addition to many other test prep services available to you (both online and brick-and-mortar), the College Board, alongside Khan Academy, offers free test prep personalized to your PSAT scores.

4. Your PSAT results can exempt you from other forms of testing if you would like to take dual credit. Many dual credit (classes where you can earn college credit and high school credit at the same time) classes have prerequisites that include earning certain scores in order to qualify for college credit. In some cases, PSAT scores can exempt the student from additional testing.

5. Taking the PSAT as a junior can qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship Program. When you take the PSAT/NMSQT, you may meet requirements to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program and compete for national recognition and college scholarships.


All Juniors should expect to receive information about upcoming ISTEP+ test dates and times. Math and English ISTEP tests will be given in early-mid February.

Seniors who need to take either or both ISTEP tests will be notified prior to the date of the test as well.

Preparing for Third Trimester

Trimester 2 Final Exam information will be announced in February. If any student has completed a course early and would like to go ahead and take a final exam, they can schedule that with Mr. Branam at the learning center. Exams can be scheduled Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm. Please email Mr. Branam to schedule an exam time at mailto:branamc@nlcs.k12.in.us

Be looking for an intent form to complete for each Empire student in grades 9-12 in February. A completed form will be required to continue with Empire or transition back to in-person learning at BNL. Families can expect the trimester 3 form in parent emails.

Our Empire counselor, Mrs. Taylor is already working on loading Trimester 3 courses to student accounts in EdOptions. If you have questions or concerns about this process, please contact Mrs. Taylor at taylors@nlcs.k12.in.us


Whether you just need a place to work, someone to help you get organized with your online classes, or some tutoring, we are here for you! Academic support is available Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm for Empire students at the North Lawrence Learning Center, that's the old Stalker Elementary school building. We can even provide lunch for you.

Contact Mr. Branam with any questions: branamc@nlcs.k12.in.us

Empire Attendance Policy

Students are expected to be on pace and passing in all of their classes. Make sure you are working daily on your courses. The suggested amount of time to work is one hour per day per course. Students who are inactive during a school week will be marked absent for that week. Please reach out if you have a reason for an excused absence to take note of.

Virtual Tutoring

Students can receive academic tutoring in English, Math, Science or Social studies each Tuesday and Thursday evening. This tutoring is provided virtually by BNL teachers. Google meet links are posted to grade-level google classrooms each Tuesday and Thursday for students to use to join!

Yearbook Announcements

The BNL Yearbook staff wants to see YOUR pictures. Send in pictures of your work areas and how you get your schoolwork done for the yearbook! Let's show everyone else what it looks like to be an Empire student! Send your pictures to bnlyearbook@gmail.com

Order your yearbook: Don't forget to ORDER YOUR 2020-2021 Yearbook! Order online at www.jostensyearbooks.com. We are documenting this crazy year and although you might want to forget about it now, later you'll want to prove that you lived through this. Contact Ms. Layer if you have any questions about yearbook (layere@nlcs.k12.in.us).

2021-2022 Course Registration

Registration for next school year is coming up very soon. Be on the lookout for announcements for your registration time.