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Virtual Learning In the SDOW

Virtual Learning

The School District of Washington strives to provide the best learning format to meet the needs of all students.  

There are various unique situations that necessitate an alternative learning environment.  Examples include:

  • Students with medical conditions which may eliminate the option for face-to-face learning 
  • Students with 504 Plans for medical diagnosis
  • Students with Individual Education Plans for special education services
  • Students who are at risk of not being successful in a regular education setting
  • Students/Parents who are concerned about the exposure to COVID-19

The alternative learning formats include:

  • Varied virtual learning options
  • Special education courses
  • Part-time in-person learning
  • At-Risk Classroom placement
  • Homebound services

Requests for alternative learning formats will be analyzed via a CARE Team including, but not limited to, the virtual learning administrator, school counselors, building administrators, and/or the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum.

Upon receipt of the Spring Virtual Learning Form, the CARE Team will analyze the virtual learning environment request to determine the best course of action.  If virtual learning from home is based on a concern of COVID-19 exposure, students will be placed in E-learning from Home Virtual Learning. E-learning from Home Virtual Learning provides students with the opportunity to access online courses from home through a vendor program. Should the reason for the request be one other than COVID-19, the team will assist the student in understanding options for alternative learning environments.

Virtual Learning Facts

Virtual Facts:

  1. All instruction is provided through trusted online learning platforms.   Students complete lessons after viewing video tutorials.  Assessments, based on content taught via the video tutorials, are given within the online platform.
  2. Instruction and assessments align with state standards.
  3. Courses (upon completion) count toward promotion and graduation.
  4. Students have some flexibility in customizing their own school schedule.  Students can work on their courses when they choose to, but will be expected to stay on pace when it comes to progress within their courses.
  5. A SDOW monitoring teacher will oversee progress and is available to answer questions.  These teachers will have a monitoring role, but will not be a part of the instructional process unless additional help is needed.

Our Virtual Learning Program does not provide the following:

  1. There are greater hands-on options our district offers through in-person courses.  Some elective courses simply cannot be offered online.  The online platforms do not offer all of the unique courses the district provides.  
  2. There is no real-time interaction with teachers.  Monitoring teachers can be reached via email for extra help, but will not be available in real-time (such as by Zoom).  All instruction is provided within the platforms.
  3. The pacing of virtual courses is different than in-person courses.  Instruction may be presented in a different order or with different pacing.
  4. Interaction with other students is non-existent or minimal.  Virtual learners must be self-motivated and able to work on their own.
  5. The Virtual Learning Program is not a flashy game-like system.  The platforms provide instruction, practice, and assessment.  They do not provide a game-like virtual environment.
  6. The Virtual Learning Program is not an outlet for students to advance beyond grade level or earn additional credit outside of what they would earn in person.  Some students may be able to, or may choose to advance through courses at a rapid rate.  If students finish courses before the end of the semester, they may have to wait until the beginning of the next semester to start new courses.    

Additional Information:

  • Although every student is different, on average, it is suggested that students work a minimum of three to four hours a day or 15 to 20 hours per week on their online courses.
  • If courses are not finished by the end of the semester, no credit will be awarded.  Attendance and credit are based on full completion of courses.
  • Once the semester begins, a change in student status becomes difficult for a variety of reasons.
  1. Due to the order and pacing of the course, it may be difficult to transfer grades from in-person to virtual or virtual to in-person. The exact course may not be offered in other formats.  Online course offerings may not be ideal for a student’s four-year plan at the high school level should the student desire a wide variety of courses with hands-on experiences.
  2. At the high school level, there is not a way to merge virtual learning with in-person learning.  If a student moves from in-person learning to virtual learning, the student must start the virtual course from the beginning to ensure there is not a skill gap caused by the move.  This requires the students to pre-test through topics or start the topic from the beginning of each course. Students can test out of each topic in the course by scoring 80% on the pretests.
  3. WMS and elementary students transitioning from in-class to a virtual learning environment, in the middle of a quarter, will be placed in the virtual course reflecting the time the student has participated in the face-to-face course.
  4. If a WHS or WMS student transitions from virtual to in-person status, the best transition plan may be for the student to finish virtual courses in a study hall setting in order to reduce learning gaps.
  5. WHS and WMS students who have earned a 1st or 3rd quarter grade and are permitted to move to a virtual platform in an identical course, during the 2nd or 4th quarter, will keep their 1st or 3rd quarter grade. It will be averaged with their virtual program course grade to determine the semester grade.
  6. WHS and WMS students who are starting a new course will only receive grades they earn in their virtual course.
  • Students enrolled in the E-Learning From Home program can participate in extracurricular activities, if the choice is due to COVID-19 potential exposure.   Although we ask parents and students to consider their reasoning for choosing to go exclusively online as it relates to COVID-19 and determine if the same concerns materialize for them with extra-curricular activities, the Board policy and the corresponding Administrative Procedure IGD-AP(3) will be followed. The procedure states students may participate as long as:
  • Enrolling in, attending and completing the requisite number of courses required by MSHSAA and the district;
  • Earning adequate grades; and
  • Meeting MSHSAA and district eligibility requirements including, but not limited to, the requirements in procedure IGD-AP (3).
  • Students wishing to enroll in E-learning from Home must be a resident of the School District of Washington and already be enrolled in the district. If you are not enrolled, please visit www.washington.k12.mo.us for the enrollment process.

Considerations for Success in Virtual Learning Environments

As with all learning platforms, it is important to analyze indicators that promote success. By using the Online Learner Readiness Rubric, parents and students can measure the likelihood of the student being successful in a virtual classroom environment.  It is the expectation of students and parents to determine strategies for overcoming limitations for success in the Less Ready area.

Process for Virtual Learning Enrollment

Virtual learning enrollment is an application process including the steps below:

Step 1: Parents and students review and rank the student's learning preferences utilizing the Online Learning Readiness Rubric.  Based on the parent's and student's ranking and understanding of additional parental support needed to overcome "less ready" concerns, the parent moves to step two.  If the parent does not understand the required support for student success, the parent should call the school counselor or the Virtual Learning Administrator, Dr. Joe Dierks, 636-231-2200 ext 9802.

Step 2: The parent and student read and understand the Virtual Learning Facts included above.

Step 3: The parent completes and submits the Spring Virtual Learning Application Form by

8:00 a.m., Nov. 23rd. The form is accessible by clicking the Spring Virtual Application Form within this Step.

Step 4: Discussion of Student's Best Educational Interest Determination will be conducted with the parents and student by the school administrator, school counselor, or virtual learning administrator to determine if it is in the best interest of the student to participate in virtual learning.

Step 5: The student is approved or denied virtual learning enrollment.  Denial may be based on previous unsuccessful participation in virtual learning or failing to complete previous virtual learning courses.

Step 6: Approval or denial of virtual learning enrollment is sent to the parent and or student.

Step 7: Students approved for virtual learning enrollment are enrolled in the Virtual Learning program and emailed procedural information.

Students At Risk of Not Completing Requirements for Graduation Options

The School District of Washington has several options for students who may be at risk for not earning credits required for graduation. Programs include The NEST, No Excuses, At-Risk Classroom, and Missouri Options. These programs have specific criteria requirements for enrollment.

The NEST: Specific requirements necessary for enrollment. Staff initiates enrollment with students/parents meeting services.

No Excuses: Specific requirements necessary for enrollment. Staff initiates enrollment with students/parents meeting services.

Missouri Options: Specific requirements necessary for enrollment. Staff initiates enrollment with students/parents meeting services.

At-Risk Classroom: At-risk students behind in credit and would otherwise have an alternate schedule and offered tiers of intervention, may be assigned courses in virtual coursework; however, remaining under the supervision of Alternative Education Instructors.

Students Requiring 504 Services or Homebound

504 Services/Homebound: Specific requirements necessary for enrollment. Staff initiates enrollment with students/parents needing services. Students with significant health concerns may be a candidate for a 504 or Homebound Services.  Communication in these situations should be conducted with Building Administrators or School Counselors.  Services may include part-time scheduling, at-home instruction by a SDOW teacher, or enrollment in a virtual learning environment.

As always, the School District of Washington is conscious of the learning needs of students and strives to meet these varied needs.  Should you need further information, please contact your student’s building administrator or school counselor, or the Virtual Learning Administrator, Dr. Joe Dierks, 636-231-2200 ext. 9802.