FAQ: General Questions About Academic Models

 

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general questions about academic modelS

Q: Why are parents being asked to choose an academic model by July 22, when conditions in Orange County may change?

A: Your selection will enable IUSD to allocate resources and staffing for each academic model.  Additionally, when health conditions change and Orange County is removed from California’s COVID-19 watch list, IUSD will be able to pivot quickly and re-open our classrooms and campuses to students, whose families selected in-person options. Absent this process, IUSD would have to disband existing classes and establish new classes with different teachers and students upon return to in-person learning.

 

Q: What are the academic models that are available for review by families?

A:  The academic models outlined here are aligned with state and local guidelines for schools and designed to meet the interests of our students, staff and families.

Q: Why is IUSD looking at offering a traditional school option when there is no vaccine available?

A:  As IUSD continues to prepare for the 2020-21 school year, which starts on August 20, our planning efforts are aligned to the guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health, the Orange County Health Care Agency, and the Orange County Department of Education.  Recently, the California legislature urged California schools to reopen and to offer in-person learning to enable parents to return to work.  The Legislature along with state and local agencies and officials recognize that in-person learning, in accordance with all health and safety guidelines, supports the academic, nutritional, social, physical, and mental health needs of students -  needs that for some families cannot be met through online learning.  For families, who do not feel comfortable with in-person learning, the District will offer a 100 percent online academic option.  This flexible approach supports IUSD in meeting the diverse needs of our more than 36,000 students and their families and our staff members.

 

Q: What is the difference between the Virtual Academy versus the Emergency Distance Learning (EDL) that was offered at the end of the 2019-20 school year?

A: The Virtual Academy is a 100% online instructional program, with both synchronous (real time), and asynchronous (flexible time) requirements. Students in this model learn curriculum designed and supported by IUSD. Instruction and assignment pacing is guided by an IUSD certificated teacher. See the Virtual Academy section in this FAQ for more information. 

 

Q: Will there be parity between the three academic models?

A: Each model will follow the same academic standards and curriculum for each grade level and course.  However, similar to traditional models, the pacing and instructional activities may differ across individual classrooms as each teacher plans instruction to meet the unique needs of their students.

 

Q: Will elementary students in the hybrid and traditional models have teachers from their neighborhood schools?

A: Our schools will continue to serve neighborhood students with the teachers assigned to that school.  However, in some instances, there is a possibility that some teachers may serve various sites depending on enrollment and need. 

 

Q: Who will be teaching the Virtual Academy students?

A: This is a district-wide program that will include staff from a variety of different IUSD schools.

 

Q: For 8th graders who receive Honors recommendations for high school course work, will it be best for them to be in the traditional model or the Virtual Academy?

A: All academic models will include honors level course work and those students with honors recommendations will be enrolled in the appropriate courses.

 

Q: Will IUSD return to letter grades for the 2020-21 school year?

A: Yes.  Now that we are no longer providing Emergency Distance Learning, and can plan effectively for both virtual and in-person instruction and assessment, classes across all  instructional models will utilize letter grades for the 2020-2021 school year.

Q: If my child is participating in the Virtual Academy, can I choose credit/no credit grading?

A: No. Classes across all instructional models will utilize letter grades for the 2020-2021 school year.

Q: Will families be able to change between academic models?

A: While we do not recommend mid-year changes, we know that, depending on our local conditions, some families may feel comfortable returning their children to an in-person model or may decide, instead, that they want to select the IUSD Virtual Academy.  We will work with families to accommodate these requests at the trimester or semester.

Q: If a student needs to make a change to their academic model due to an emergency, how will this be handled?

A:  We understand that each emergency is unique and the local school site will work with families to support the continued education of their student in response to the emergency and regardless of the academic model.

Q: How will students, who are in the hybrid and traditional models, continue learning if there is a COVID-19 outbreak or they cannot attend school for related reasons?

A:  If a quarantine or school closure is necessary the school site will work with families to support the continued education of their students.

 

Q: IUSD has stated that Distance Learning and the IUSD Virtual academy will be different from the Emergency Distance Learning in the spring of 2020. Please explain how these academic options will be different?

A: Both the IUSD Virtual Academy (IVA) and Distance Learning will provide rigorous, high quality differentiated instruction from highly trained and qualified IUSD teachers and staff. Teachers in our traditional and hybrid programs will be able to access the curriculum and resources offered through our Virtual Academy. With the time to plan and learn from our Emergency Distance Learning experience, we can ensure that IVA and Distance Learning will provide tightly structured and standards aligned lessons, with frequent synchronous (live) learning, individualized support, peer-to-peer collaboration, and an infusion of new learning resources. Regardless of the format, IUSD students will receive the rich instruction, support, and connection they need.

 

Q: What is the training IUSD teachers will receive in online instruction for both the IUSD Virtual Academy and Distance Learning (hybrid, traditional and blended models)?

A: IUSD has developed training specifically to support effective learning and promote student engagement in a virtual environment for both the IUSD Virtual Academy and Distance Learning for the in-person models. The training includes a focus on strategies to build and maintain relationships with and between students, tools to support live interaction and peer collaboration, and methods for delivering direct instruction in a virtual environment. This training is part of our Compass professional learning platform and is available to all teachers on demand to support learning needs whenever they arise.

 

Q: Now that it appears all IUSD academic models will start in online learning for the 2020-21 school year, what is the difference between the Florida Virtual curriculum for IVA and the curriculum for distance learning (Hybrid/Traditional/Blended models)?

A: Both the IUSD Virtual Academy (IVA) and distance learning will provide rigorous, high quality differentiated instruction from highly trained and qualified IUSD teachers and staff. The IUSD Virtual Academy utilizes the Florida Virtual curriculum as a foundation and IUSD teachers supplement with additional district instructional materials and teacher created content. In distance learning, the classroom teacher adapts the normal classroom instruction to a virtual environment so that in person instruction may resume with as little interruption to instruction as possible. Teachers in our traditional, hybrid and distance learning models will also be able to access the curriculum and resources offered through our Virtual Academy.

Q: Why is there a separate curriculum for IVA students and students in Distance Learning (hybrid, traditional and blended models) and will there be parity and the same level of rigor?

A: Although the foundational instructional materials may differ between IVA and classroom distance learning, both programs are aligned to the same essential standards and rigorous learning targets. All curricular and instructional resources are available for teachers within the IUSD Virtual Academy, traditional, hybrid, or distance learning models to use and share.

 

Q: What is the difference between starting school in the IUSD Virtual Academy (IVA) versus in-person option?

A: Just as our Virtual Academy will provide rigorous, high quality differentiated instruction, distance learning will also provide tightly structured and standards aligned lessons, with frequent synchronous learning, individualized support, peer-to-peer collaboration, and an infusion of new learning resources. Regardless of the format, IUSD students will receive the rich instruction, support, and connection they need from highly trained and skilled IUSD teachers and staff.

 

model selection and teacher assignment flow chart

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