Welcome to Class at GaVS!

A step-by-step guide to starting the semester!


Welcome to Georgia Virtual School!

I will be your student's Biology teacher. The information included in this newsletter will guide your student to helpful resources as well as steps to take as they begin in this course. If you are new to the online environment, I am here to help you through this transition. In the online world (much like a face-to-face school setting) success is achieved through common effort of student, teacher and parent. As you encounter questions starting and working through the course, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am here and available for each of you.

Taking a course online has many benefits:
  • Approaching a course topic from a variety of different angles to increase understanding (e-textbook, videos, peer discussion, games, creative projects) .
  • Personalized teacher interaction. Students work through material independently leaving the teacher to spend more time on detailed, personalized feedback and tailored class instruction. I am readily available for communication/help. Parents can help by nudging the student to use the teacher as a resource; if I don't hear from a student, I won't know how to help.
  • Individualized pace. Students may spend more or less time on any particular topic as they progress through the schedule, so long as they meet deadlines. Online courses are rigorous, requiring student motivation and organization. It is imperative that the student print out their schedule and check off completed assignments. Support your student by asking them about their schedule progress from week to week.
  • Focused teacher/class interactions: Weekly LIVE synchronous sessions. A variety of interactions (Q&A, problem review, tutorials, video/song integration, games) are employed that are targeted to class weaknesses/needs. If a student cannot attend, they can always listen to the recording.

I want each student to be successful and have a great experience in this course. I look forward to helping your student both learn about and appreciate Biology.



Student Step-by-Step Guide: Do this right away!

Step 1: Set up Your Google Email Account

GaVS is making a switch from D2L email (email within the course) to Google Mail. Instructional Technology has created a site to help teachers and students with the switch and integration with D2L. The site is GaVL Google Apps. Make sure to reference the section called "Google - Getting Started" in order to learn how to link your Google account with your D2L account. To learn more about how to use Google tools, reference the "Google Tools" section of the site.

Note about syncing passwords: There is a section explaining how to sync your GaVS Google apps password with your GaVS Student Information System password. Your password has to be at least 8 characters long. If your GaVS Student Password is not 8 characters long then you will need to change the password. The passwords have to be the same. If your passwords are not the same, you can watch THIS video on how to change your password.

It is imperative that you set up your Google Account right away. Using your GaVS email account is essential since it is the primary form of communication students will use with me as their instructor.

If you have any problems setting up your Google Account, please let me know as soon as possible so that I can be of assistance.

Step 2: Complete the SOC (Student Orientation Course)

When completing the Student Orientation Course, it is important to complete topics in order and complete all items on the checklist.

The following items are required for the completion of the Student Orientation Course (SOC):

  • students complete all sign off
  • students complete all agreement quizzes
  • students make a 100% on the final Student Orientation Quiz.


  • Students may choose to opt out of the Student Orientation Course*; however, students who elect to opt out of the Student Orientation Course are still responsible for all content presented in the course.

Students must finish or opt out of the SOC before gaining access to the course. Students will not gain access to the course until the first start date or one workday after the semester has begun on August 5, 2013.

*Only those students who have taken the SOC previously are able to "opt out"

step 3: Enter Your Course and Choose a Schedule Group

  • Select a Start Date: Students will select a start date of August 5, August 19, September 2, or September 16. Regardless of the start date, the course ends December 6, 2013.
  • Assignment Due Dates: Student work is due bi-weekly on Fridays at midnight. Check course schedules for specific due dates.
  • Late Work: Work turned in after the deadline on the course schedule will be accepted within 1 week with a late penalty assessed. Late penalty begins on Saturday and is deducted at a rate of 10% of the assignment value per school day. Work submitted on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday is considered 1 day late.

Step 4: Print out your Schedule & Get Started!

Once you have chosen a start date, print out the matching schedule on the Course Homepage (Course Info). Read through the schedule to see what is due daily. Work the schedule in order.

Here are two short tutorials to (1) help you navigate the course and (2) understand how to use your schedule. Click and watch as many times as necessary.


Important Information for Parents

The Parent Account gives you information about your child’s grades and progress in their course. If your child’s grade drops below a 75, you will receive an automated phone call. If your child’s grade drops below a 70, you will receive a phone call from me.

If you already have a parent account please do NOT create a new one.

1) Please check to see that your parent account is linked to your student’s account.

2) For more information click Help on the Log in page or click this link.

If you are uncertain about whether you have a parent account or not,

1) Log in to GAVS at www.gavirtualschool.org and at the Log In page type in your username and password.

2) For more information click Help at the top of the Log In page or click the following link. http://helpdesk.gavirtuallearning.org/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/List/Index/14/gavs-parent-info

*Information for parents who have NEVER created a parent account.

1) Login to our website www.gavirtualschool.org

2) Click the “Log In To GAVS” icon

3) Click “Create An Account” from the navigation bar.

4) You will need to know your child’s GTID and date of birth.

5) Please follow the directions on the screen.

6) Be sure you have linked your parent account to your student’s account.

7) For more information simply click HELP at the top of the Log In page or click the following link. http://helpdesk.gavirtuallearning.org/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/List/Index/14/gavs-parent-info

D2L Help Sessions for Students and Parents:

When: (attend any of the following)
  • Tuesday, September 17 at 11AM
  • Thursday, September 19 at 7PM


This is an online event in the Adobe D2L Help Classroom

You will join by entering the meeting as a Guest. Your username is your first and last name. Here is the link to join each D2L Session:

Adobe D2L Help Classroom

The space for each session is limited. We ask everyone to join the session using only ONE computer at your home. If the session is full, the recording will be posted within the learning management system and you will have an opportunity to review the recording OR attend another upcoming meeting. The schoolwide D2L meetings are separate from individual Welcome sessions held by each teacher. Please plan to attend the meeting with your teacher as well. Your teacher will notify you about the date of that meeting.

Biology Synchronous Sessions: Our Online Classroom

The Biology Learning Lounge: Weekly Office Hours
I will conduct a synchronous class with students once per week: Mondays at 7 pm EST. (Two exceptions: August 6th and Sept 3rd - see the course schedule) If students cannot attend a meeting, recordings will be posted on the Biology course homepage. This is an excellent opportunity to get questions answered concerning content as well as clarification on how to do specific assignments. These sessions are intended to be helpful and I welcome input from students as to what we should discuss.

Other sessions will be conducted as needed (Welcome Chat, Biology Bonus). All sessions are announced on the Course Homepage with a link to join the session.

I strongly encourage you to make the Biology Learning Lounge sessions a part of your weekly routine to boost your potential for success in this course, and better reach your goal.

Where Can I Go To Find answers to other questions?

1. Start with the GaVS Knowledgebase, a searchable database of tutorials on the most common questions:
Click here to use the GAVS Helpdesk/Knowledgebase!

2. Look within the news announcements (in the Course) or other communication from me.

3. Familiarize yourself with the Student Handbook: Click here to access the Student Handbook.

4. Feel free to contact me directly via phone or email.

A Little About Me...

I truly enjoy the art of teaching; I have science degrees from Albion College & Ohio University, and my teaching degree is from the University of Pittsburgh. I have been instructing college, bridge-to-college and high school science courses for the better part of the last 15 years, and have been teaching online for the last year. I enjoy getting to know students and helping them to reach their goals.

When not teaching, I delight in spending time with my three small children and husband; we can be found traveling, touring, playing, and/or visiting a zoo or park. We enjoy science and nature as a family. Take a look at this short video to meet us and see some of our adventures.

I am thrilled to have you in my class this semester! Biology ranks as one of my favorite topics both in and outside of the classroom, and I hope my excitement is contagious. I look forward to a challenging, productive and fun semester with you!

Contact Me!

Please do not hesitate to contact me. I aim to help you reach your goals for success in this class, and we can't do that without communicating. I enjoy answering your questions!

The best time to reach me is weekdays 10am-10pm EST. Email me at any time and I will get back to you within 24 hours. You are also free to call (be sure to leave a message if I cannot answer.)