Dare to Reimagine Learning

FAQ

Sturgeon Public Virtual Academy – Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is the Sturgeon Public Virtual Academy?

The Sturgeon Public Virtual Academy (SPVA) is a new online educational program designed for students in Grades 5 to 9. SPVA was created as an option for families that would like to keep their children at home, while learning 100 per cent online in a high-quality education program.

How do I know if the Virtual Academy is right for my child?

While all of our programs are designed to meet the individual needs of students, the Virtual Academy is best suited for students that:

  • Are highly motivated and independent learners with good time management skills;
  • Are able to engage in the daily routines and expectations of an online school;
  • Can ask for help, make contact with other students and teacher(s) online, and describe problems with learning materials;
  • Have medical issues which make in-person classes difficult; and
  • Are transitioning from home education.

How do I know if the Virtual Academy is right for our family?

Critical to the success of our students in online programming is a shared commitment. We are asking our parents/guardians to be a supportive participant in their child’s online education. We believe a parent/guardian commitment is required to realize a successful online learning experience where there is a shared responsibility on the part of the student, parent/guardian, and teacher. This is especially critical in the middle years. Student success at all grades is tied to regular attendance and engagement. 

What does the program’s school calendar look like?

The Virtual Academy follows Sturgeon Public Schools’ calendar and is required to meet the provincial mandated 180 days and 1,098 hours of instructional time, just like our face-to-face buildings.

If I enroll my student for the Virtual Academy for the fall, can I change my mind?

Sturgeon Public Schools is asking families to commit for the full year. In doing so, we can adequately plan for staffing.

How do I enrol my child in the Virtual Academy?

Parents wish to registering their child in the Virtual Academy are asked to please indicate that choice when completing the Registration Page in PowerSchool.

Is there a cost to participate in the Virtual Academy?

Outside of regular school fees, there is no additional tuition costs attached to the Virtual Academy.

Will technology be supplied by the school?

Parents/guardians will need to ensure their child has a Chromebook, laptop, or desktop computer with Windows 10 or higher. It is imperative to have a reliable internet connection.

What Learning Management System (LMS) will be used?

Students will engage with their teachers and one another through Google Meet, Google Classroom and Hapara – all a part of Sturgeon’s Google Suite. 

Programming

Will my child still be learning the same curriculum in the same sequence as students in a regular classroom setting?

Yes, students will be taught by certified and highly qualified SPVA teachers who follow the provincial Program of Studies, which outlines the skills and knowledge Alberta Education requires all students to learn and demonstrate. However, the lessons, delivery methods, and assessments will be adjusted and optimized for the virtual classroom.

What courses will be offered?

Students will have academic and option course opportunities. Every student will have access to English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Complimentary courses may include physical education, music, STEM and the arts, with additional possible options such as career and technology foundations and world languages.

What will online learning look like?

Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy will work as part of a grade-level cohort with an assigned online teacher(s). Students will take part in online classes and daily learning activities, including both synchronous and asynchronous learning. The length of these activities will depend on which grade (or division) the student is in, with the expectation that students are engaged in learning activities for a full day, similar to in-person schools. It is vital that students are available to connect with their teacher every day, during regular school hours. They also will be expected to complete asynchronous learning activities during times they are not engaged with the teacher.

What is synchronous and asynchronous learning?

The format of instruction will include live online teacher instruction and teacher-directed activities and assignments, known as synchronous and asynchronous learning:  

Synchronous Learning - This is the live online learning portion of the day. These times of the day will be similar to a regular school day but will be delivered through Google Meet. Your child’s teacher will communicate the times during which synchronous learning will occur with you and your child.

Asynchronous Learning - Learning activities that students complete independently. These times are similar to when students complete seatwork in class that the teacher has assigned to them.  This may include watching videos, working on projects, or other assigned work.

Will my child get grades? Will they take assessments?

Depending on grade level, students will receive grades and/or feedback just like in our
face-to-face schools. Teachers will be using both formative and summative assessments to measure the student’s understanding of concepts and post grades and feedback via PowerSchool. Assessments for Sturgeon Virtual Academy follows AP805 - Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Student Achievement. All students will receive a report card and are required to participate in provincially-mandated testing.

Student Support Services

What if my child has special needs?

The Virtual Academy staff and/or Student Support Services will support the individual needs of all students. Should a student require additional support, teachers may develop an Individual Program Plan (IPP). IPP goals will be focused on skills that can be achieved and monitored in an online learning setting.  Teachers and parents will meet to collaborate on goals that will best support the student, and will review the IPP at various times throughout the school year.

What if my child requires specific accommodations? 

Student Learning Plans (SLPs) may be created by teachers should a student require specific accommodations to support their learning.  Teachers and parents will meet collaboratively to create accommodations for the student that will best support their learning throughout the school year.

More Information

When will more information become available for the content and structure of the Sturgeon Public Virtual Academy?

Our team of educators is working on developing an education experience with Sturgeon Public Schools students in mind. More information will be posted as it becomes available. For further information email spva@sturgeon.ab.ca