Selah School District Virtual Academy K-8
How will the Virtual Academy be different from the full distance learning model that SSD will be using until possibly December? The Virtual Academy will be more parent directed and paced. Students will have weekly check-ins with their Selah School District teachers but not daily live (synchronous) interaction. Each student will have an individualized student learning plan developed with the teacher, parent and student.
What specifically will the online courseware (Pearson) provide? We are using Pearson Connexus for grades K-8. We will be learning more about this software in the next week with our district training. The Pearson software is a full curriculum that includes literacy, math, science and social studies. It is mostly taught through video instruction. In K-5, it requires an adult learning partner. Here is a video with an example of student view in Pearson software https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tapQ6MsAJDQ
What options are available for students in high school? Students in high school can attend Selah Academy Online. It is a full online program run through Selah Academy. For more information about this program, contact Joe Coscarart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 698-8063.
Will the classes and courses be the same that they would get in buildings?
Students will be learning the same standards that students within the grade level. Teachers in the Virtual Academy will be collaborating weekly with their SSD grade level teams to ensure that the learning is similar but the instruction will be different.
If my student is in the dual language program can they be in the Virtual Academy and Dual Language? Students who are in the Virtual Academy can get access to a Spanish literacy course in addition to English, math, science and social studies. They will not have access to a bilingual teacher in the Virtual Academy. The Spanish instruction will come from the Pearson software using video.
What if I’d like access to the school curriculum in addition to the Virtual Academy? Parents who select the virtual academy option will not have access to regular school curriculum as well. The standards/learning will be similar to what is being offered in our school curriculum
How do grades work for the Virtual School? We will follow SSD policy for grading.
I’ve heard that if we select virtual only, they won’t have a teacher, is that true? No. All students in the Virtual Academy will have an SSD teacher assigned to them. These teachers will be doing weekly check-ins with students and parents.
How will the one-on-one, small group, large group, and office hours be conducted? These will be done primarily through Zoom and direct phone calls.
How much time will my child be expected to spend on school work each day? SSD will continue to offer learning opportunities for the SSD Virtual Academy that would amount to the time spent in buildings learning during a regular year. That means teachers will offer K-8 students an estimate of 5 hours/day (about 25 hours/week)
That seems like a lot. Last spring the recommendation from OSPI for time during distance learning ranged from 45 minutes for K-2 to 3 hours at high school. Why is it so different? Students will be able to work at their pace to accomplish the necessary tasks to show adequate growth with the grade level and content they are working with. The SSD Virtual Academy teacher will work with students to identify what the most critical pieces to complete are in order to maintain adequate growth and ensure adequate preparation for next steps. This means students may spend less time in accomplishing those critical tasks and have the option to engage with additional learning after that.
Will there be flexibility to do the learning when it makes sense for our family? Yes. The individual student learning plan will be developed with the teacher to ensure that it meets the needs of the family.
Will my child have to participate in state testing? Yes, as long as the state is requiring it (they canceled it for spring 2020). It is still an expectation in Washington that any public education student (even if in an online program), will participate in state testing. That includes WaKids for kindergarten, ELPA21 Screener for any new student who speaks another language at home, ELPA21 annual for anyone in our Bilingual Program,
SBA for grades 3-8 and 10th, and WCAS for grades 5, 8, and 11.
My child receives special services (e.g. special education, highly capable, language acquisition). How will they receive these specialized services in the ESD Virtual Academy? Your child will still receive those support services. Models are still to be determined. Special Education students will be placed in the SSD Virtual Academy according to the IEP Team’s decision and in alignment with the service matrix.
Will my child maintain a connection to their home building. Yes. Children will still have opportunities to connect with their building staff when appropriate, and will remain on the communication chains for that school.
What if I want my child to be in a classroom for a particular subject/course? The Virtual Academy is designed to be for students and families who are willing and able to learn remotely, and our expectation is that students will be virtual only.
Can my child participate in extracurriculars and/or athletics? Yes. Your child will have the opportunity to participate in any extracurricular or athletic activities the school is offering and which your child would otherwise be eligible for participation in.
What will the support for parents look like? Like most online programs, we’ll be asking families to identify a learning coach. This could be a parent, an older sibling, or any other designee who is present during the learning. The role of the learning coach is to assist with lessons, monitor comprehension, and communicate with the teacher. Having a designated Learning Coach is critical to student success. Monthly one-on-one’s with the student, learning coach, and teacher will be available. There will also be opportunities for the learning coach to connect as needed with teachers during regular office hours. The learning coach may join the weekly one-on-ones with teachers as appropriate.
What are the technology requirements to be a part of the SSD Virtual Academy? Children will need to have reliable internet access to connect to the Pearson software and join Zoom sessions. Some of the work can be completed offline if the student has had access to internet to download the activities. It will then automatically upload to the teacher as soon as reconnected. They will also need a device. SSD will check out a Chromebook to K-8th grade students who need one. Those devices will support the platform and other district digital resources. Access to a printer would be beneficial for flexibility in printing assignments but is not required.
How will the district support technology issues? For district technology issues (e.g. Chromebook issues), we will provide a help desk option like we did in the spring. There will be SSD IT staff to daily monitor and respond to these issues in a timely manner. Internet issues will have to be directed to your internet provider. For software issuesPearson and the SSD Virtual Academy teacher will act as back-up support when necessary to connect you to help.
What if my child starts virtual only and I decide I want my child back in school or what if they start in school and I then decide I want my child to do the virtual only option? We want all students and parents to feel that their student’s learning needs are being met. If you feel like you would like a different model, you should call your building administrator or counselor to set up an appointment.
Will the Virtual Academy option remain even if students are back in buildings full time? Yes. We are purchasing Pearson licenses for the entire school year. This option will be available for the 2020-21 school year.
Who do I contact with questions about the Virtual Academy? Contact the principal of your child’s school for more information about the Virtual Academy.