Arizona Virtual Academy is a tuition-free online school is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) fourth grade teacher and reading specialist, Banji Judge, can relate to the Eleanor Estes' classic book, "The Hundred Dresses." The story, which focuses on a young, poor and friendless Polish-American girl named Wanda, exposes the sad truth about bullying.

"It's not just a theme in books or movies. Bullying is a very real problem in today's world," said Banji. "I have many students who come to AZVA because they were ridiculed or teased. Fortunately, if the bullying can't be resolved, students can go to an online public school, like AZVA, and continue their education from the safety and comfort of their own home-whereas 10-15 years ago that wasn't an option."

Banji, who often talks about the importance of acceptance and respect, uses books in her class to shed light on important social issues like bullying. She believes reading is the most imperative thing to a student's academic success. She says reading should be more than just phonetically sounding out words, but truly understanding the meaning behind each word.

"If you can get kids to understand the meaning in what they're reading, you've helped them with every other subject. Math, science, history-all those subjects rely heavily on a person's reading and retention skills, which is why I put such a big emphasis on it."

Banji started teaching at AZVA in 2008 and has been teaching English and reading in the Arizona public school system for more than a decade.

"It's been an amazing experience. I think the main difference is that I've truly gotten to know my students' parents. Because parents take on the role of a 'learning coach' to keep their child on track with lesson plans and homework, I sometimes speak with them several times a day, not just several times a year."

AZVA students conduct class and coursework online and communicate with teachers every day. Students still have normal assignments, tests and grades and participate in extracurricular and social activities like other public schools.

More about AZVA
AZVA is a full-time, online public charter school authorized by the State of Arizona, serving students in grades K through 12. As part of the Arizona public school system, AZVA is tuition-free, giving parents and families the choice to access award-winning curriculum and tools provided by K12 Inc. For more information about AZVA, visit . is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

Print this article Back to Top