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UCS Virtual Academy - Questions and Answers

Updated 8/21

Below are updated of frequently asked regarding the Virtual Academy. Also, the previous Q and A has been updated. 

When will I know my class schedule?
Teacher assignments and schedules will be emailed to all district parents on August 28. 

When can I know the teachers assigned to the virtual academy?
Students will know their teachers when the schedules are sent on August 28. Once the schedules are sent, a complete list of teachers will be placed on the Virtual Academy website and its social media sites.

How will laptops be provided to students?
The principal of your home school will be contacting you with the schedule for laptop distribution. 

I have a student who receives special services. Does the registration impact his/her IEP?
The UCS Special Services staff has begun to contact families who have registered for the UCS Virtual Academy. We will partner with families to collaboratively develop a plan that will identify how to best provide needed services to your student to ensure their continued growth and success. 

How do I get regular updates on the Academy?
UCS Virtual Academy students remain very much a part of their local school community. Your local school principal remains the point of contact is important that you are receiving e-mails through the district’s system. If you have not been receiving regular e-mails from your child’s home school, please let us know at ucs@uticak12.org. 

In addition, we are posting regular updates on the academy’s website and have created Facebook and Twitter pages for families.  



Updated 8/13

The UCS Virtual Academy

 

The virtual academy is available for students K-12 that will not be attending remote learning/in-person environment at their home-school in the 2020-2021 school year.   The UCS Virtual Academy will provide the high standards of quality instruction and support that our community expects and will be delivered by a UCS highly qualified teacher.

Registration for the academy has now closed. 

Additional information on the academy and the UCS reopening plan is available at this link 

What are the options of learning for UCS in the Fall?                                                           

Under the plan, the Virtual Academy is one of two options that parents may choose for the 2020-21 school year.

In addition to the Virtual Academy, the district is planning remote learning  with the ability to transition to remote instruction with the existing classroom teacher.

Under any option offered this fall – face-to-face instruction, remote or the Virtual Academy – a parallel curriculum will be offered to students.

The Virtual Academy provides core subjects to electives and will be available for students in grades K-12. Students will be instructed by highly qualified UCS teachers that are certified by the State of Michigan. In addition, the academy is dedicated to meeting the academic and the social and mental health needs of students.

How is the Virtual Academy learning platform differ from Schoology?
The Virtual Academy will utilize Schoology.

Will the classes be taught by UCS teachers?
Yes.  Students will be assigned UCS teachers who are assigned at the Virtual Academy.  They are current UCS teachers.

Will the virtual academy and remote learning have the same curriculum?
Yes. The district will provide parallel curriculum among all the learning options possible for this year: remote, the UCS virtual academy and the transition to face-to-face instruction. 


What is the difference between remote and virtual instruction?

Remote Instruction

  • Students will transition to face-to-face instruction based on evaluation of pandemic safety guidelines. The remote format will be used only as long as pandemic safety measures dictate.
  • Students will learn from home to begin the school year. 
  • All students are automatically registered in this option. No action is required.

UCS Virtual Academy

  • Parents need to complete the registration form for each student selecting this option.  Registration in the UCS Virtual Academy reserves a student’s seat for the entire 2020-21 academic year.  
  • Students registering in the UCS Virtual Academy will be required to continue their enrollment at least through the end of the first semester which ends on December 22, 2020.
  • UCS Virtual Academy will combine students from grade levels or courses across the district (e.g. a Browning student and a Crissman student could be in the same 6th grade class). Courses will be taught by UCS teachers from across the district.

What will the two learning formats have in common?

  • Students will follow a prescribed daily/weekly schedule of classes/lessons.
  • Each class will have multiple, weekly ‘live’ interactions between students and UCS teachers.
  • Both synchronous (real time learning with the teacher) and asynchronous (learning experiences created by the teacher which are accessible at any time) will be used with whole class, small group and/or individualized instruction.
  • Special education services will occur, including special programs, synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and direct/consultative services, according to the student’s IEP.
  • All classes will feature rich academic experiences along with an online classroom culture that recognizes and values the social-emotional needs of all students.
  • Students will receive meaningful and regular feedback from their UCS teachers via Schoology.

How are the class days structured? Are the lessons live or recorded?
Class days follow their traditional school schedule.  UCS teachers will provide synchronous (live) instruction and support to complete the learning process. Also, lessons can be asynchronous (recorded) so students can move at their own pace.

Below is a sample daily schedule for elementary and secondary.

Sample Elementary A

Sample Secondary A

 

Virtual Academy Logo

Are classes provided Monday through Friday?  
Yes.  They are the same as your home school and follow the school calendar.

Will my student speak with or hear from a teacher each school day?  
UCS Virtual Academy teachers will be connecting with students daily during the class hour assigned.

Will my child receive letter grades at the end of each Virtual Academy semester?
Yes, students will receive reports cards with grades per UCS Board of Education Policy 6205.

Are assessments the same for virtual and in-person students?
Yes.

I have more than one student enrolled in Utica Community Schools.  Can family members be enrolled in different learning methods? 
Yes.  UCS is designing options to offer flexibility for each learner allowing parents to decide what best meets the needs of their children.

 


If my child begins the school year in virtual learning, can we switch back to in-person learning if needed or desired?

Once enrolled in the Virtual Academy, students will attend for a minimum of one semester.  Transitions back to their school, if desired, may only occur at the semester breaks after consulting with teachers, counselors and administrators.


If counselors are assigning courses for students that align to their personalized learning plan, will my child’s courses/schedule be different than they would receive in-person?
Schedules and courses will be aligned to UCS schedules for easy transitions and flexibility.

Are Advanced Placement or Honors courses part of the Virtual Academy curriculum?
Yes.  These courses will be offered.

How will Specialty Programs work in the Virtual Academy – UAIS, UCMST, UCSI and Stevenson MADE, and Montessori?
Classes that are taught in Specialty Programs are not available in the Virtual Academy. In order to enroll in the Virtual Academy, a specialty program student would need to drop the program. Due to the nature of the program and to increase health and safety, UCMST and UCSI will automatically be placed in the Virtual Academy for non-Specialty Program classes for the first semester.

With elementary students, what role does the parent or guardian play in the day-to-day schooling within the Virtual Academy?  
The virtual program is being developed for ease of use in the household.  Parent involvement will be needed for elementary students for the set-up, routine of instructional hours and encouragement. The teacher will provide the direct instruction.

As a family considering the Virtual Academy, what teaching assistance resources will be provided to parents while my child learns at home?  
The Virtual Academy is intended to engage each student in their learning.  Counselors will provide support to parents based on the learning needs of their student. 

How will lab work be conducted?  (Chemistry, health sciences, etc.)  
Coursework and lessons are developed to utilize household materials for labs and learning.

Will my child be able to take part in sports if enrolled at the Virtual Academy?
Yes.  Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy may participate in their assigned school’s athletic program.

My child struggles in certain subjects and will need more one-on-one attention than most students do, how will UCS teachers be able to help my child learn?  
The teacher will be the primary contact for learning.  Through the UCS Virtual Academy additional supports from a counselor, and tutoring opportunities will be available to all enrolled students.

My child requires special supports such as an IEP or a 504 Plan.  How does the Virtual Academy provide for my student?
A review of the student’s IEP and 504 will occur prior to placement.

Will counseling and mental health support be available to Virtual Academy students?
Yes.  Counseling and Mental Health Curriculum will be available.

Will being enrolled in the Virtual Academy negatively impact my child’s GPA?
No. GPA’s will be consistent with UCS Board of Education Grading Policy 6205.

Will being enrolled in the Virtual Academy negatively impact my child being recommended for Advanced Math or other Advanced classes next year?
No.  The courses are taught by UCS teachers and are equivalent to the offerings in the K-12 schools.

Does virtual learning observe the same holiday and half-day schedule as in-person learning?
Yes.  Schedules for students will be the same across the district.

Will my student’s grades be listed in PowerSchool?
Yes.  All students’ grades, throughout the district, will be maintained in PowerSchool.

How will report cards be delivered at the Virtual Academy?
Report cards will be electronically delivered district-wide through PowerSchool.

If the State of Michigan or Utica Community Schools closes schools for in-person instruction again, will all students convert to using this virtual learning platform while remote learning?
No. Students attending fact-to-face instruction will be able to transition to remote learning provided by their classroom teacher.  Students that are in the UCS Virtual Academy will remain in the virtual academy with their current teachers assigned.

We do not have a device for our child to use.  Will students enrolled in the Virtual Academy be provided a district-issued device to use for the school year?
Yes. All UCS students will have a district-issued device.

My child has their own computer, can it be used for the Virtual Academy?
No.  A specific menu for learning will be deployed on the UCS provided device that enrolled UCS Virtual Academy students will receive.

Will electives such as art, choir and woodshop be held? CTE? 

Yes, pending the number of students enrolled in the class.

Would we contact our principal in our attendance area if we have issues with any virtual teacher/instructor?

Yes, the principal will contact the program administrator for the UCS Virtual Academy.