Online learning offers a unique experience and flexibility not available in a traditional classroom, as well consistency in learning environment as schools wrestle the challenges of COVID-19. While the online environment is a great option for some students and families, it is important to ensure it will be a good fit for a student's style of learning and other commitments.
Take a look at our list of frequently asked questions and answers to get a more in-depth picture of what Richland Virtual School has to offer.
How is the Virtual School different from distance learning provided through the district's traditional schools?
Both Virtual School and distance learning provide students an engaging virtual learning experience, though distance learning will only be provided if school buildings are closed. Virtual School is aimed at serving those students and families who are looking for a full-time alternative to in-person instruction. Additionally, Virtual School teachers will be specifically trained in providing full-time online instruction.
How is the Virtual School different from Three Rivers HomeLink?
HomeLink is a parent partnership program, meaning each student's education is parent-directed and managed with support from teachers and other staff at HomeLink. Virtual School is a teacher-directed learning experience with teachers managing student learning throughout the course of the day. While parents remain valued partners in Virtual School's model, they assume a more traditional role in monitoring their children's grades and communicating with the teachers on academic progress.
What is the Virtual School like?
Virtual School is a structured academic program that ensures students are engaged in learning throughout the traditional school day. Teachers will provide instruction through recorded or live video broadcasts, lead class discussions and assign coursework to students through the Canvas learning management system. Teachers will also be available at regular times for one-on-one conversations with students and parents to ask questions and receive feedback. All learning materials will be available online with the option for families to download and print or request hard copies from the district. Supports for students needing special education or English language learner services will also be provided.
Is the Richland virtual school program with local teachers?
Yes, RVS will have RSD teachers working with students.
Is there social-emotional learning provided through Virtual School?
Online class discussions will be used as a way to build community and relationships between students. Additionally, teachers will be trained to provide social-emotional learning specifically for an online learning environment so it can be integrated into instruction.
Will my student have different teachers for all subjects or a single teacher for all subjects?
Classes will largely be structured as they are in a traditional classroom, i.e. a primary teacher for elementary students and subject-specific teachers for secondary courses. Some elementary students may be grouped in combined grade-level classes depending on enrollment.
What classes will be available for middle and high school students?
Program administrators and teachers are currently developing the course listing for the 2020-21 school year. At the elementary level, core subjects such as language arts, math, science and social studies with some resources for elementary specials in the arts, physical education and social-emotional learning. For the 2020-21 school year, secondary course listings are expected to be limited to core subjects with support for some elective courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes through APEX. Other electives such as music and career and technical education (CTE) would have to be accessed via RSD's traditional schools.
What if we don’t have a reliable computer at home?
Richland School District provides all enrolled students an Internet-capable device for learning as part of its 1:1 Technology Initiative. Families will need to ensure their child has access to reliable Internet service so they can engage in online instruction and class discussions.
What learning platform will Richland Virtual School students use? Will parents receive any training on that platform?
Virtual School uses the Canvas learning management system (LMS) to manage and organize student resources, assignments and assessments. Orientation and training on navigating Canvas will be available for parents.
How are students held accountable?
Along with daily check-ins, teachers and program administrators will be able to monitor student participation by tracking whether they are turning in assignments online and even if they are accessing and watching instructional videos through Canvas. Students will also be required to have their devices locked into a single application when taking quizzes and tests. Pacing guides and regular meetings with an assigned counselor will also ensure students are staying on track academically and being successful.
What is a pacing guide? What does one look like?
A pacing guide gives students a listing of what they should be working on and with what platform or resources on a scheduled basis. Teachers will integrate these into courses via Canvas.
What services will be available for students on an IEP or requiring special education supports?
Families with students on IEPs or needing special education supports are welcome to transfer into Virtual School and resources will be provided. It is recommended families reach out to their child's IEP team to indicate your interest in online schooling so they can begin working out how services could be provided.
Is there any in-person aspect of Virtual School? What about clubs and athletics?
All learning will be delivered virtually for students enrolled in the Virtual School. Students are eligible to participate in in-person extracurricular activities at the school for which they live in the attendance boundary. Families need to reach out to the school to sign up for those activities.
What is the commitment for enrolled students?
Students who enroll in Virtual School commit to participating in the program for the entirety of a school year at this time.
Why have Richland Virtual School? Why not just have students enroll in WAVA or K12?
Offering Richland Virtual School gives families a local option for online learning, with teachers based in their community. Unlike programs serving families statewide, the district can adapt the program to meet specific community interests going forward.