FAQs About Virtual Learning

Posted on 08/04/2020

What are the virtual instructional models for the 2020-21 school year?

When in-person instruction is re-instated, parents may choose for their students to leave either instructional model described below to return to school for face-to-face instruction. Until that time, students will be served in one of the two following models:

  • School-Based Virtual Model (PK-12) In the school-based virtual model, instruction is delivered to students who are not at the school site. Students are taught by a Newton County School System teacher, who will follow the district’s curriculum maps and use virtual learning software. This option requires the use of instructional technology, including digital tools that already are available in our classrooms (cameras, digital meeting platforms, and learning management systems). This online model leverages the strengths of teachers and staff in supporting the learning success of students.

  • Self-Paced Virtual Academy Model (K-12) The school system will offer a K-12 online learning academy that is aligned to the Georgia Standards of Excellence. This self-paced virtual academy combines the benefits of a traditional school with the flexibility and personalization that online learning offers. Our competency-based learning approach allows students to move faster or slower through the material, depending on their individual skills and knowledge. Students will have the freedom to adapt their schedules to accommodate their other interests. They can succeed regardless of time, place, and learning style.

If I select the Self-Paced Virtual Academy option for my student(s), will my child(ren) have a Newton County School System teacher to offer support?

Students attending the Newton Online Academy will receive instruction via a virtual learning platform. Students will not be taught by a Newton County School System teacher; however, educators from within the district will monitor student attendance, track progress during the course, and support each student during his or her learning experience. It is critical that parents are committed to playing a strong supportive role to ensure success of the online program from home.

How will open house be carried out?

Each school will offer a virtual open house to students and parents on August 31, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Please check your school’s web page and social media platforms for the link(s) to the Zoom platform. Open house will be recorded and posted for parents and students to view if the time and/or date of the open house conflicts with their schedule.

Each school will offer a virtual open house to students and parents. Open house for middle schools is September 2, 2020, and open house for high schools is high schools is September 3, 2020. Please check your school’s web page and social media platforms for the broadcast times and links to the Zoom platform. Open house will be recorded and posted for parents and students to view if the time and/or date of the open house conflicts with their schedule.

What at-home activities can I use with my children to keep them engaged at home?

Teachers will provide resources related to student engagement in the virtual learning model.

How does virtual learning work if my child is a part of the district’s ESOL program?

NCSS will continue to provide high-quality services and programs for English Learners during virtual learning. While learning remotely, students will continue to receive supplemental ESOL instruction according to his or her school’s schedule.

How does virtual learning work if my child is an elementary school student who receives gifted education services?

NCSS will continue to provide high-quality services and programs for gifted learners during virtual learning. While learning remotely, identified gifted students will continue to receive instruction from their resource teacher according to his or her school’s schedule. Also, general education teachers are expected to differentiate instruction and activities for all students, including identified gifted students.

What supports are available for our students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEPs)?

Special education teams at each school are working with parents to develop a contingency plan to provide services during remote learning. Most services should be delivered during remote learning, but this may be difficult or impossible in some cases. Once students are able to return to face-to-face instruction, your family, along with the other members of your child’s IEP team will determine if additional services are needed. Please reach out to your child’s case manager for more information and if you need support.

Will my child’s teachers contact my child and me?

Teachers are expected to remain in communication with their students and their families, especially regarding matters of academic performance, attendance, and engagement. Parents are also encouraged to reach out to their child’s teachers as needed.

How will students be tested in their classes?

The schools will use a variety of formative and summative assessments to measure student growth. We currently use a platform called Illuminate, which is familiar to our students. Most major tests will be conducted via Illuminate.

Will instructional packets be provided to students who do not have access to technology?

Instructional resources may be provided at times to support classroom instruction. They will not be used in isolation of teacher instruction. We are exploring additional options for students with limited technology.

When will my child receive his or her Chromebook and instructional resources?

The window for material distribution is August 24th - August 27th. Your child’s school will provide information regarding your assigned pick up time.

What will athletics and extracurricular activities look like?

Effective August 17, 2020, all Newton County School System extracurricular activities are suspended. District and school leadership will continue to monitor all indicators and will consider re-starting activities as soon as possible.

How will attendance be tracked for students?

According to guidance distributed by the GADOE on June 29, 2020, “students will be considered to be in attendance when participating in active instruction and/or education services from a school or district”. This can be tracked in various ways dependent upon the virtual model being utilized.

What procedures will be used for student discipline in the virtual classroom?

The NCSS Student Code of Conduct will continue to be implemented, and students enrolled in the school system, whether in person or virtual, will be expected to abide by the rules therein.

If the schools are closed, will the community be able to use a school’s facilities?

To maintain safe and controlled access to buildings, as well as to prioritize cleaning and disinfecting, community use of school buildings will be limited to preexisting contracts and programs providing direct support to students.

Will meals be available to students?

Breakfast and lunch meals will be delivered to school bus stops. Route information and delivery times are forthcoming.

What emotional supports are available for students and staff?

All schools have resources to address students’ social emotional needs. If your students needs additional support, please reach out to your school’s counselor.

How may I receive a Chromebook for virtual learning if my child does not have one?

An email has been sent to parents who originally selected option 1, which includes information regarding the need for a device and/or Internet hotspot. In the event you did not receive this email, please notify the Director of Student Services at [email protected] .

What do we do if we do not have Internet access at home and cannot get it from the local provider?

We will provide hotspot access for any family that requests access as available. These requests should be made through your child’s school.

What support may I access if I need help with my school issued device or with a technology platform?

Teachers will provide initial support to their students. Parents and students will have the ability to submit a request for technology support via email, and each school will have a dedicated phone support line.