MSDWT Virtual Academy Parent Guidance
Families Must Select Virtual Academy Option
Amidst the uncertainty of the current health situation as a result of COVID-19, Washington Township is committed to providing families a variety of educational opportunities in order to ensure a safe and comfortable learning environment for all students. Therefore, in addition to the in-person instructional programming provided by all Washington Township Schools, a Virtual Academy will be offered.
The goal of the Virtual Academy is to provide families with a fulltime virtual learning experience that is cohesive and supportive of a family’s decision to remain home during this global pandemic. Please understand the Virtual Academy is not meant to replace the invaluable experience of attending school and receiving face-to-face instruction from our highly-skilled teachers. It will take a commitment from both the family and the student to ensure the Virtual Academy is a positive, successful, and enriching experience.
Parents are requested to provide adequate supervision based on their student’s age and responsibility level.
Therefore, we ask for your support in upholding the following expectations:
- Commit to the Virtual Academy a 9-week grading period at a time in grades PK-8 and a semester at a time with the high school. The virtual enrollment option will close if the enrollment drops below 20 students at the start of a quarter for elementary and 50 students in a course at middle and high school.
- Enrollment in the Virtual Academy occurs through Skyward when parents update the contact information. Parents will have the option to choose “Virtual Learning”.
- Each student participating in virtual learning will be issued a device to be used at home. Ensure your student takes good care of their District issued device.
- Provide a daily structure and routine for your student based on the virtual learning schedule.
- At the elementary level, read aloud to your student and ensure your student has access to books and other reading materials.
- Monitor student work and progress along with the teacher(s).
- Communicate regularly with teachers.
- Provide additional educational opportunities for your student such as cooking, building, creating, experimenting, and exercising. Valuable learning occurs during these real-life applications.
- Participate in Canvas training enabling you to help your student navigate the online learning environment.
- As a result of the fluidity of this situation, students may be assigned to various teachers over the course of the school year as the administration attempts to balance classes in the Virtual Academy as well the in-person classes.
- Daily attendance will be taken at the start of each virtual school day. Students are expected to follow the entire schedule assigned to them.
- Complete all assignments, online and offline, by the due dates assigned by your teacher. This includes weekly Lexia and Dreambox lessons for elementary. With the exception of kindergarten, students will receive a letter grade and standards-based grade. Kindergarten students will receive a standards based report card.
- Communicate regularly with your teacher(s). Respond to instructional feedback and reach out with any questions regarding technology or content.
- Abide by the student code of conduct at all times. Everything you do online leaves a footprint. Anything you do or say online you should also be comfortable doing in public.
- Students enrolled in our Virtual Academy may have to take state (ILEARN) and some local (NWEA) assessments at their neighborhood school following necessary safety guidelines.
The Virtual Academy will be different from the at-home learning experience that our students had in the spring 2020, and will more closely mirror the virtual experience so far this Fall. Below is a chart to show the difference in the learning experience:
At-Home Learning Spring 2020
Virtual Academy Learning 2020-21
Limited length of time
Designed for extended length of time or full-time
Hold harmless grades
Limited teacher instruction on video
Increased teacher live and recorded instruction
Limited expectation of parent support
Requirements and expectation of parent support
Scheduled class time and a daily schedule
Directed by IDOE and Governor’s Office
Parent choice (quarterly PK-8, semester 9-12) unless otherwise directed by ISDH, MCPHD, DOE, or Governor’s Office
Student was a part of the neighborhood school, teachers were from the school, administrators from the school
Students may be a part of the neighborhood school experience. Students may not experience the same teacher that he/she started the year when all students had virtual learning.
Extra-curricular or co-curricular activities
Virtual Academy students may participate in extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities or competitions at the secondary level that are offered in-person. Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy may als0 participate in activities that are offered virtually. Transportation to school will not be provided to students in Virtual Academy who choose to participate in extra/co-curricular activities including athletics.
No min./max number of students
There will be established minimum numbers of students enrolled in order to offer the Virtual Academy at each grade level or course.
Meal pick-up weekly
Meal service will be available for pick up for Virtual Academy students.
Below are sample student schedules for each level of the Washington Township Virtual Academy. Your student’s final schedule will be determined by his/her teacher at elementary and by your child’s counselor at secondary. Students will be placed into a district grade level class. Elementary and middle school students may be in classes with students from other WTS elementary or middle schools.
Sample Elementary Schedule
** Students in certain programs (Compass, DLI) may experience a different schedule based on enrollment. Students may be zooming into regular classes rather than an entire different virtual class.
8:30 – 8:50 Morning Meeting and Second Steps (Live with Instructor)
Fridays: Closing Meeting, Preview the Upcoming Week
9:00 – 9:20 Literacy Mini-lesson
9:30 – 10:30 Independent Reading, Lexia
Small Group Instruction (Live with Instructor 2-3x/week)
10:30 – 10:45 Math Mini-lesson
10:45 – 11:45 Math Independent Practice, Dreambox
Small Group Instruction (Live with Instructor 2-3x/week)
11:45 – 12:45 Lunch and Break
12:45 Writing, Phonics, Science, Social Studies, and a Rotation of Special Areas
Including Art, Music, and Physical Education (All recorded lessons.)
Middle School and High School Hybrid and Virtual Schedule
For those middle school and high school families who choose to remain 100% virtual, there will not be a separate program. Students will follow the hybrid schedule shown below, but instruction will be live Tuesday through Friday as teachers will have an open Zoom link to their hybrid classroom each period so that students can access the same lessons that the in-person students are seeing. Students will need to access the class periods assigned so that class sizes are not too large as teachers will attempt to interact with in-person students and virtual students at the same time whenever possible. Given this arrangement, class sizes will be similar to what they are normally. We will not know for sure until parents determine in-person versus virtual, but based on previous survey results, it is possible that most in-person classes will have 10-12 students present each in-person day with 13-15 students accessing the course via Zoom. Thus, this should be manageable, especially with a greater emphasis on a blended approach to teaching and learning. This blended learning environment may result in the in-person learning having a little more focus on technology to allow both groups to be engaged at the same time.
Please note that when students return to in-person learning, the school start time at North Central will move back to 7:20 AM, and the middle school start time will move back to 9:20 AM due to the constraints of bus transportation.
Also, please note that students who choose the Virtual Academy may participate in extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities or competitions at the secondary level that are offered in-person. Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy may also participate in activities that are offered virtually.
First Half of Alphabet (A)
Last Half of Alphabet (B)
Virtual Learning Academy Frequently Asked Questions:
Will there be an administrator assigned to the Virtual Academy?
No, your child’s current administrator will provide oversight and support to virtual programming and will be able to answer questions about the Virtual Academy.
If my child chooses the Virtual Academy, can he/she participate in extracurricular activities?
Yes, students who choose the Virtual Academy may participate in extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities or competitions at the secondary level that are offered in-person. Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy may also participate in activities that are offered virtually. Transportation to school will not be provided to students in Virtual Academy who choose to participate in extra/co-curricular activities including athletics.
Will every single course be offered in the Virtual Academy?
Yes, students will have access to all of the courses offered to students who are enrolled in in-person traditional school, but in programs like Compass or DLI, students may experience a different schedule based on enrollment. At the secondary level, all of the courses will be offered virtually since virtual students will be accessing live instruction from the in-person classes.
What if we choose to do the Virtual Academy, but we have poor Internet connectivity at home?
Contact your school’s social worker, and hopefully the district can assist your family with connectivity.
Q. What if my child has an IEP or Section 504 Plan or has limited English Proficiency?
Student plans should be reviewed and potentially revised based on enrollment in our Virtual Academy. Appropriate staff members will communicate with you regarding these services and supports.
Q. What if my child is enrolled in WT Virtual School, but I decide I want to change him back to his or her home school after the school year starts?
Washington Township asks that parents and children uphold the quarterly (elementary and middle school) and semester (high school) commitments instead of switching students back and forth throughout the nine weeks. This makes for a smooth transition for students and teaching staff and assists the district with the analysis of necessary staffing throughout the school year. The district will provide all Virtual Academy parents a survey to complete by November 13th for all Virtual Academy parents for the second semester.
Q. If my child were enrolled in the Virtual Academy, will all of the courses be taught by WT teachers?
Yes, WT teachers will teach each class in the Virtual Academy, but your child may not have the same teacher he/she had prior to some students transitioning to in-person instruction.