Administrative Update VAAC

October, 2020

Dear Families,

We are so glad you're here. We are 6 weeks into our program and we're finally starting to settle into a routine here at VAAC. We are incredibly grateful to our families for their unwavering support, incredible feedback and encouragement. We are grateful to be able to provide this service during these unprecedented times in education!


We will be starting to identify a group of long term virtual learning families who would be interested in being a part of our VAAC Longevity and Sustainability Group. We are looking for families who will stay with us for the full year and/or beyond. To sign up, click the link! All we need at this time is your email address. We'll be following up with more information in late October or early November.


There is a LOT of information here. The first section is relevant to ALL K-12 VAAC families. Then I have sections for K-5, Exact Path K-8, 6-12 and Technology Support. Take your time, read through and reach out with questions! Reference this tool often!


I'm going to release a monthly newsletter and weekly updates. I'll send through S'more and post to our website, here.


Sincerely,

Mrs. Ashley K. Leneway

Whole Program

VAAC Calendar

Our VAAC school calendar is available on our website, here. Please note that October 16 and 19 are days off for our virtual students. Enjoy the long fall weekend.


Mascot contest!

For the past few weeks, we've been hosting an online mascot contest. It closes tomorrow, October 9th at 5pm. Here's the information for that contest. We already have a number of incredible entries! It's going to be so hard to choose the best one for VAAC. On Monday, October 12th we'll post all entries on our website and our staff will be sharing a link to vote on the favorite mascot. These will be posted to Google Classroom and Seesaw to allow for VAAC students and staff to vote for their favorite student created VAAC Mascot. Voting will close at 5pm on Friday, October 16th! The winning design and artist will be revealed on our website on Monday, October 19th.


Edmentum Language

All of the products we use are Edmentum products. Edmentum Calvert is our K-5 program. Edmentum Exact Path is our K-8 virtual assessment and learning pathway. Edmentum Courseware is our 6-12 program.


Include Important Information for Support

When you communicate to our tech team, our staff or to me, it's incredibly helpful to know your student or students legal name/s and which district you are with. We appreciate this support in helping to streamline support for you and your family!


Count Day and Period

Wednesday, October 7 was our count day. THANK YOU to everyone who logged into their Edmentum products (Calvert, Exact Path or Courseware), completed work in Google Classroom (Wednesday assignments) or Seesaw and communicated with their mentors.


Attendance, Engagement and Truancy

Students in grades K-12 are required to participate in at minimum 2 two-way contacts per week with their mentor or classroom teacher. Parents and Students in grades K-5 can work collaboratively with the VAAC mentor teacher to accomplish the 2 two-way via zoom, email, or phone call. This means, the teacher initiates contact (via Seesaw (K-5), Remind (6-12), Google Classroom (6-12), Zoom, email, text message or phone call) and the student responds, then the teacher responds (teacher-student-teacher). These two-ways will be logged, and two per week must be completed for a student to have positive attendance marked. Students & parents need to be on the watch for contacts by their mentor and respond to all contacts.


Students will submit an assignment every Wednesday.


Students will login regularly (5 out of 7 days per week) to the appropriate Edmentum platform (Calvert, Exact Path, Courseware) and be working toward completion of their coursework.


If 2 two-way communications are not completed Wednesday to Tuesday, the local district is contacted, they are maintaining attendance records. Students who are consistently missing that communication will be considered truant. Our policy is being finalized and will be shared with families as soon as possible.


School Pictures

If you have not had your child's school picture taken, please reach out to your local district for more information regarding the date, schedule and forms that you will need.


Staff Support

Our staff have been incredible in offering support to virtual students and their families as we are all learning new things! A HUGE thank you to our staff for all of the time and energy from all of them. We love that we can provide your family with the flexibility to work and complete school when it best suits you and your needs. Please be mindful that our staff will return your messages as quickly as possible but we're hoping they will make time for their families in the evenings and over the weekend. Thanks for your support!


Parent Teacher Conferences

We are working on how to best serve our families virtually. We have the unique opportunity to be more available than ever to our families. You are always welcome to set up a time to meet virtually with your child's teacher, mentor or myself. If you need contact information, we can provide that for you. We will be sending a survey to families to determine if we need individual conferences set up and how to structure that to meet parents needs.


Trimester Ending and Report Cards

The end of our trimester is November 12. There is no school on November 13. All of our courses are designed to be semester courses. We are working with our local district partners on how to best provide the progress updates for students at the trimester mark, especially for those students will will be transitioning back to brick and mortar at the trimester end. We will provide more information as we work out the details with our staff and local district partners.

Information for Grades K-5

GVSU Free Virtual Tutoring Services


Read by Grade Three

What is read by grade three? MDE states, "In 2016, the Michigan Legislature passed a law that requires schools to identify learners who are struggling with reading and writing and to provide additional help. The law states that third graders may repeat third grade if they are more than one grade level behind beginning with the 2019-2020 school year."


We are working with local districts to identify which students need the most support. We're utilizing Exact Path diagnostic data, previous information from the local district and teacher expertise to identify these students and make a plan for this school year.


If your child is identified as needing additional support, our team will contact you and set up a parent meeting, we'll put your child on an IRIP, Individualized Reading Improvement Plan and walk you through the layers of support that will be put in place for your child.


If you need more information, reach out! Also, here is a parent resource site for more information.


Calvert Changes

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive through the transition! We worked to first simplify and clarify the expectations around ELA- reading and writing- in K-5. We listened to your feedback and felt that was the most important first step. We are working to focus on ELA instruction 3 days each week and balancing that with individualized practice in Exact Path the other two days.


Math, Science, and Social Studies will continue (unless guided otherwise by your teacher) to be 5 days each week. Elective classes are not daily expectations, your teacher will work with you on sharing their suggested VAAC weekly schedule to complete daily work.


There are many limitations to the grade book in Cavlert and you will notice that some assignments will need to be turned in via Seesaw, some still in Calvert. Your teacher will identify where assignments or evidence or learning need to be submitted.


We are also working with K-5 to build independent reading and writing stamina!


Exact Path Learning Pathway

We expect students to spend 20 minutes per subject (20 minutes in reading, 20 minutes in math and 20 minutes in language arts) twice weekly. As students complete modules, they earn virtual trophies! A great goal for students, to start, is to earn two trophies weekly!

Exact Path K-8

Thank you to everyone who completed these diagnostic tests! This gives our staff great baseline data to begin looking at how to best support our students. It also gives us a great tool for looking at growth over the course of our year at VAAC.


Here is an example of what your child's Diagnostic testing data will look like!

Big picture
Family Sensei

What is national percentile ranking?

Unpacking National Percentile Rank

Information for Grades 6-12

PSAT/SAT

We received guidance regarding PSAT/SAT testing. Issued April 30, Governor’s Executive Order 2020-65 required that all students who weren’t able to take the PSAT or SAT in the spring would be required to do so in the fall. That said, many students are learning at a distance, and it is not possible or desired by many parents that students enter school to take the PSAT or SAT. The College Board, which owns and administers the PSAT and the SAT, does not offer administration of the tests at a distance. As a result of the above, the Michigan Department of Education, the governor’s office, and the state legislature worked on legislation, a small part of the budget bill approved by the state legislature to require that districts offer the PSAT and SAT to students, but not require the taking of these tests.


You will contact your local district for scheduling and for more information.


Edmentum Courseware Locks

We are working through learning how to best support students virtually. One of the lessons we have learned is there is a fine balance between giving students freedom to move through content at their own pace and having the ability to support students (now at very different places in the curriculum). Our goal is to keep unit post tests locked for all core content areas, to make sure that a student is adequately prepared for the end of unit test.


Edmentum Courseware Mastery Tests (within Units)

For maximum success, we highly encourage students to utilize the guided notes (if available) or take their own notes as they progress through tutorials. If a student is stuck, confused, needs clarification or additional practice, we encourage students to reach out to our staff- the mentor or content teachers for support! The learning process is different in virtual! We encourage students to take their time to view tutorials, take notes and even re-watch the tutorials! Students get three chances to master the content with 80% (to self un-lock, they just need to re-watch the tutorial). After the third unsuccessful attempt at a mastery test, students will need to reach out to the content teacher for zoom help or share their guided notes in order to have the test unlocked. Students do have access to see their errors, to learn from their mistakes, once after a mastery test. Student notes can be used to help them on the mastery tests.


Edmentum Courseware Post Tests

Students should complete/master all tutorials and mastery tests before attempting the unit post test. Students should briefly review mastery tests, notes and any exempt lessons beforehand. For Unit 1, students who score less than 60 will be encouraged to retest-- they will review notes or zoom with teacher for support and then request that the teacher reset the post test. After Unit 1, students may request one retake opportunity.


Edmentum Exact Path Expectations

In grades 6-8, we're working with our staff to determine the best route to work through student learning pathways. We understand what is being asked of students, in six courses, is already very overwhelming. Their courseware scheduled courses are most important and should remain the priority. We'll provide more information on how those learning pathways will be utilized, for now, it's an additional resource for practice of individualized skills.

GVSU Free Virtual Tutoring Services


Teachers & Mentors
MS: Click Here For Teacher Contact Information
HS: Click Here for Teacher Contact Information

Technology Support

Our tech team can be reached Monday-Friday during business hours at (269) 512-7756.


If you're needing help outside of business hours, please complete this form, https://forms.gle/EKkQ8PddXdP5QupX6, and our tech team will respond once they're back in the office.

Parent Feedback

We are just 6 weeks into a brand new program. We care about your feedback and want your input on how to improve our program! If you are interested in sharing your feedback, please complete the survey using the link below.

Virtual Academy of Allegan County

We are a 100% virtual program. If you call and do not get a person, please leave a message and we'll return your call as quickly as possible. Email correspondence is preferred.