WVA VIRTUAL VIEW
2013 - 2014 KICKOFF ISSUE
The Student Services Department at Advanced Academics, which includes the Admissions, Registrar, Counseling, and Retention Departments are excited to bring you the Kickoff issue of the WVA Virtual View newsletter. This newsletter will give you lots of information you can use to make the most of your online education experience, as well as lots of other fun and interesting stories about what’s happening in virtual learning.
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR PRINCIPAL...
Welcome to The Wauwatosa Virtual Academy!
A Brand New School … A Brand New Way To Learn!
With this newsletter you will find a great deal of information. Please don't stress over it all! You will find that in a few short days, it will begin to all settle in --I promise!
The basic thing to know is that, with your consistent effort, you will be guided successfully through the process! So I will repeat throughout this newsletter -- Expect Success!
Our commitment to you and your parents this year will be to:
- Keep you posted regarding your academic performance
- Show you tips on how to improve
- Provide you with best ways to communicate with teachers
- Outline clear learning expectations
As you begin your education journey, you will need to designate a parent/guardian academic coach. A supervising coach will help you stay accountable in reaching your goal and will help mentor you along the way.
We are all pioneers in a sense, each of us trying to do our best to capitalize on our strengths through a new way of learning. Pioneers not only find success for themselves, but they blaze a trail for others to follow.
I have seen much success on this educational path, and I wish each of you success in your learning!
Mr. Mahony - Prinicpal
MEET YOUR COUNSELORS
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR COUNSELORS...
As in traditional High Schools, you have access to a certified counselor to help you with your academic, personal, social, and career questions.
Last name beginning with the letters A-M--Counselor is Mrs. Rasmussen.
Last name beginning with the letters N-Z--Counselor is Ms. Huber.
Reasons to contact your school counselor:
- You have questions about your courses or want to discuss an academic plan
- You are struggling in your courses and are not sure how to get back on track
- You need help with school and don’t know where to get it
- You have questions about graduation
College and Career
- You have questions about going to college
- You are not sure what you want to do after high school
- You are not sure what careers you are interested in
- You need help applying to college
- You are having personal or school problems and you want to talk to someone
The school counseling team offers:
- Individual guidance
- Information sessions on college planning, financial aid and post-secondary opportunities
- Student groups on time management and study skills
- Chat hours
Check your announcement page for all of the wonderful opportunities put on by the counseling team!
This is important. We invite you to discuss any issue you have with either of us. If you choose to divulge personal issues, we promise to keep that information confidential and to respect your right to privacy. However, we are bound by law to report certain things you may tell us. These are things we cannot keep secret and must report them to the proper authorities. They are:
- If we suspect you are thinking about hurting yourself
- If we suspect you are thinking about hurting another person
- If we suspect someone is hurting you
We want to be clear about this. We want you to tell us, or someone, if any of these things are happening to you; we will do all that we can to help. What happens to you is important to us!
We, as professional counselors, are bound by a professional code of ethics that requires us to keep private and confidential everything you say to us with the exceptions to the items noted in the previous paragraph; however, everything you “say” in the “talk to teacher” chats, everything you type in a Classmail, and all e-mails are logged permanently and kept by Advanced Academics. This means that we cannot maintain confidentiality in those public forums. It is your choice to decide to say anything you chose in chats, Classmails, or e-mails, but it is solely your choice. We do not want you to refrain from sharing those personal things that are pressing on you, but just know that they are not confidential as a face-to-face conversation would be. If you do not want to use those regular means of talking with us, please feel free to call us at 866-235-3276 where conversations can be kept more private.
Your WVA Counselors
MEET YOUR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT COORDINATOR
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT COORDINATOR...
Welcome to 2013-14 school year! I am excited to get to know all of you! Student Achievement Coordinators (SAC) make up the Retention Department at Advanced Academics, and are your number one source of support and motivation as a student at Wauwatosa Virtual Academy.
My goal is your success! To help me accomplish this goal I focus on high expectations, encouraging advice, and superior support. I want your experience with Wauwatosa Virtual Academy (WVA) to be positive and you can count on me to be there for you as your “go-to” person, personal cheerleader, and mentor.
You can expect to hear from your me multiple times throughout the semester. Listed below are some reasons that I will be contacting you:
- Orientation, Goal-Setting, & General Check-In – You should have already received an orientation guide from me to help you get started and explain WVA's general expectations including attendance and progress. I will also be following up with you to answer any questions you may have. If you haven't completed your orientation yet, then please call me ASAP. Once you have completed your orientation please contact me so that we can discuss your goals for this school year. Also, I'm not just going to leave you hanging. I want to know how everything’s going. What, if any, struggles are you having?
- Progress Check-Points – I will be calling to remind you of how far along you should be with your courses. If you are falling behind, I will work with you on coming up with a plan to help get caught up.
- Truancy – I don’t like being the bad guy, but occasionally students find themselves in danger of being truant, and I will contact you and your parents if this occurs. Remember, my goal is your success, and you can’t be successful if you’re not logging in and completing your work.
Student Achievement Coordinators are not counselors or teachers, so when do you need to contact me?
- Falling Behind – You know that you’re behind in your courses and you don’t know what to do to get caught up.
- Stressed Out/Overwhelmed – There’s so much on your plate between school, work, family, friends, etc. You’re having trouble managing your time.
- Question – Don’t know who to contact? I will make sure that your question gets answered. I love questions, big or small.
I can be reached via Classmail, Email, and Chat or by calling:
1-866-235-3276 option 4
Once again, I can’t wait to work with you and look forward to speaking with you soon!
Student Achievement Coordinator
WHO IS MY TEACHER?
TEACHERS MAY BE CONTACTED VIA:
- PHONE-1-866-235-3276, OPTION 2
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE TEACHERS' AND TUTORS' HOURS BELOW:
- First day of school - September 3
- End of Semester 1 - January 24
- Start of Semester 2 - January 28
- End of Semester 2 - June 13
PLEASE read the attendance policy carefully with regard to school breaks. If you are behind in your courses, we expect that you will work throughout your breaks to get caught up in your courses.
- Winter Break - December 23- January 1
- Spring Break - April 14-18
WVA GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
To graduate, students are required to earn a minimum of 23 credits.
These credits are broken up by subject area. Within each subject there are certain requirements. Please refer to your graduation checklist or call your school counselor if you have questions.
- English 4.0 credits
- Oral Communications 0.5 credits
- Social Studies* 3.0 credits
- Math 2.0 credits
- Science 2.0 credits
- Phy Ed 1.5 credits
- Health 0.5 credits
- Financial Literacy 0.5 credits
- Electives 9.0 credits
- *1 Credit US History, 1 Credit World History, 1 Credit US Government
WVA GRADUATION CEREMONY
Wauwatosa Virtual Academy hosts a graduation ceremony in June for all students that graduate throughout the school year. Please watch your Classmail and mail for information. If you do not want to attend the ceremony, your diploma will be mailed to you at the end of the semester.
WVA ATTENDANCE POLICY HIGHLIGHTS
Attendance Policy: You must complete at least 6% per day or 30% per week. You have 7 days to achieve the 30% overall minimum progress. Progress is made by submitted and graded assignments. Reading is not counted towards progress, but your work quality does matter.
- General recommendation to reach this completion: 6 submitted assignments per school day, which can average 6 hours or more; or think of it as 30 assignments and 30 hours in a 5 day school week.
- Retakes: if you are not getting 60% to pass your class, then you should talk to a teacher and have items reset so you can raise your grade. Note, however, that these retakes are above and beyond what you need to submit as they don’t count towards your progress completion.
- Meeting attendance will not guarantee that you finish all your classes by the end of the semester if you start more than a week or two into the term, or if you have more than 6 classes.
- If you have more than six classes, daily submit the same number of assignments as you have for classes (ex: 7 classes -> submit 7 assignments)
- Talk to your SAC representative if you started the term late to determine a daily goal.
- Requesting excused days: parents/guardians must contact the Student Achievement Coordinator.
- Only two days in a week’s time can be excused for illness, otherwise we need a doctor’s note stating no work at an online school could be completed due to illness.
- Only one day per semester can be requested for internet or computer problems.
- Vacations must be pre-approved
- Please note: Using your calendar to create “vacation days” on ROADS does not communicate to the school officials that you are taking time off. You must contact the school via the attendance email in order to request time off or to provide doctors’ notes.
MANAGING YOUR TIME WISELY
Time Management is a common problem for high school and middle school students, and staying motivated can prove to be even more difficult when studying online instead of in a classroom. Follow these time management tips for success:
1. Set Aside Specific Hours Just for Schoolwork
Yes, we understand that one of the things you love about online learning is that you are not restricted to a classroom during set times every day. However, if your schedule becomes too flexible, then you may find that you continually cut your work day short or think, “I will just do it tomorrow”. Tomorrow turns into the next day, then the next, and pretty soon your procrastination has turned into a mountain of work. Consider these specific hours for schoolwork inflexible, and don’t schedule other things during your study time.
2. Communicate Your Schedule to Others
Let your friends and family know what times of the day you will be available, and don’t accept phone calls, IM’s, or text messages during your study time.
3. Follow a To-Do List Everyday
Scheduling time for your schoolwork is just a start for your busy schedule. Make a list of your daily responsibilities, prioritize them, and cross them off when they are complete. Doing this everyday can help you realize how much you can achieve, and give you a great sense of accomplishment. Hey, you now have a planner! Use it!
4. Create Your Perfect Study Space
Set yourself up for success, literally, by finding a private and quiet place to study. Avoid rooms where there are a lot of distractions like people coming in and out or loud music or TVs. Make sure that you are comfortable and have proper lighting.
5. Avoid Online Distractions
Oh, the internet, so much to do, so much to see! It is so easy for those online study hours to quickly disappear while being distracted by the internet. When you schedule time for your schoolwork make sure that you intend to use that time for school and not just “computer” time. Avoid social networks all together during your scheduled study time. If you must get on Facebook, then do it during your scheduled free time. Even taking a brief moment to look at your friend’s status update can interrupt your thought process and can slow you down.
6. Utilize Your Resources
As soon as you get stuck and need help, ask! There are so many resources available to you, and you don’t have time to waste by not asking for help. We don’t expect you to get through your online courses alone, and we may not know that you need help if you don’t speak up.
7. Give Your Brain A Rest
Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused for long periods of time. Give your brain a boost by taking a short break. You might try setting a timer to remind yourself to take a break. For example, set a timer for an hour and work hard on your schoolwork until it goes off. Then take a 10 minute break to do your favorite activity, have a snack, or get some exercise. Just don’t forget to get back to work once that 10 minutes is up.
8. Reward Yourself
You’ve followed all of these tips, your grades are good, and you are on track to successfully complete your course on time! Reward yourself! Take a night off! Hang out with your friends. Go see a movie. Prepare a special dinner for you and your family. Whatever it is you love, take time to reward yourself with this activity.
WHAT EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW
It would be a perfect world if all students could adjust easily and perform well in an online educational environment. Some students will have no problems, and they will acclimate easily into new learning circumstances. However, at WVA, our experience tells us that for many students the transition to online education is not always easy. We also know that there are many misconceptions about how online education works, what to expect from your student, and how to help your student be successful.
It is important to grasp that even though there are teachers, teaching assistants, or tutors available from whom your student can get help; the reality is that your student has a huge amount of responsibility on their shoulders. Your student has to login daily, organize their day, complete reading and daily assignments, study for tests, take tests, and more, all on their own. It is a completely different model than they are used to. The ROADS system, in which your student’s courses are delivered, is intuitive and provides many tools to help your student accomplish these tasks. However, it cannot do the work for them nor can it reach out and communicate with teachers, Student Achievement Coordinators, or Counselors. Your Student must do these things themselves to stay on track and be successful in their courses.
There are many things that parents can do though to help their student. If you haven't done so already, please access this WVA Parent Orientation to learn more about ensuring your student's success with WVA.
GET READY, GET SET, GO!
Get Your Computer & Technology Needs Ready
Repeated surveys of students have shown that one of the biggest obstacles to student success is not having the computer resources they need and a consistent high speed Internet connection. It is crucial that students have daily, reliable access to a computer that meets the system requirements for WVA courses and a high speed Internet connection. Courses are doable with a dial-up connection but it does result in longer load times and student frustration with the program. Click here to see System Requirements and if you have questions about whether your computer or Internet connection will meet your needs, call our Customer Support line Toll Free at 1-866-235-3276, Option 1.
Get Your Study Environment Set
A desk or table that has a space for both a computer and room to take notes and to place other items is important. L-shaped tables or two tables placed in an L-shape allows for computer work in one area and writing, reading, or studying in another. The table or desk should be at a height that makes it comfortable to use a computer for hours at a time. A too tall or too short desk will cause poor posture and will become uncomfortable after a short while. Being uncomfortable will encourage students to spend less time working online.
An ergonomic or good desk chair is an excellent investment. A swivel chair can be useful for ease of movement. A proper desk chair will have good back support, arm rests, and the height should be adjustable. Click here to read more about the benefits of a proper desk chair and computer posture or watch this video about how to sit properly in front of a computer.
Find a quiet place to study and work online that is not in a public room of the house. It is difficult to stay focused in a room where there is a lot of activity. Or, if it is not possible to have a private area, invest in a pair of good noise cancelling headphones that you can wear if other things are going on in the space. If at all possible, keep distractions out of the room or the immediate online study area. It is best if the temptation of a television or game console is not in the same room.
Go! Go! Go!
It is important to be prepared to login and begin
your courses the first day of the semester.
Getting started and finishing coursework the first day gets you started on the right foot and encourages you to initiate good work habits. If you cannot start working the very first day for some reason; it is critical to begin working as soon as possible. We have found over and over again that students who login the first day and are on track the first 21 days of the semester; pass their courses and are successful.
Please look out for our next WVA Virtual View edition in October. The Student Services staff wants to provide students and parents with information and resources to help students stay in school, be more motivated to complete courses, and to plan for graduation and life after high school. It is important for online students to be surrounded by a community of people who will support them and be invested in their success. We are committed to providing this information for our students. We embrace the opportunity to work and help you achieve your dreams.
Welcome to Wauwatosa Virtual Academy and we wish you the best in 2013-2014!!!