OKVHS Virtual View
Kickoff Issue for 2014-2015
The Student Services Department, which includes the Admissions, Registrar, Counseling, and Retention Departments are excited to present this year's Kickoff issue of the OKVHS 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.
We will 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. The Student Services Staff is committed to providing this for our students. We embrace the opportunity to work with you and help you achieve your dreams and we welcome you to OKVHS/MS and wish you the best in 2014-15.
Oklahoma Virtual High School's District Partner: Epic Charter School
From Your Counselors:
“All students should have access to a state-certified, professional school counselor to discuss their academic progress, to access information about occupational and educational planning, and to receive assistance in addressing their personal and social concerns.”
Course Enrollment and
As soon as your Counselor has access to your Graduation Checklist which lists all of your academic career courses and credit, they will select courses for your enrollment. In general, students are required to take math, science, English and social studies courses that are set out in state law and by your school district. Counselors will assign the courses they believe fulfill these requirements and then fill in with art and elective courses. Course changes are allowed and your Counselor looks forward to hearing from you and discussing your academic career.
As soon as your Counselor has all the information they need to enroll you in courses, an email will be sent to the email address you provided in you’re an application containing your Graduation Checklist with pre-enrollment course selections for 2013-2014. If we have not received all of your transcripts or your application for 2013-14 is not complete, then your Counselor will not be able to complete this task.
When you receive your Graduation Checklist, review it closely to insure that you agree with the courses and credits listed and that you are satisfied with your pre-enrollment course selections. If you wish to make changes or you have questions about the Graduation Checklist, there will be contact information included in your email.
From Your Coordinators:
The Student Achievement Coordinators are a source of support and motivation for Oklahoma Virtual High School & Middle School students. Student Achievement Coordinators play a major role in a student’s positive experience with OKVHS/MS by providing the support necessary for successful completion of their courses and in attaining their high school diploma.
Our Focus is Student Success
To accomplish their goals for student success, Student Achievement Coordinators focus on high expectations, encouragement, and superior support for students. SAC’s focus on the following objectives to accomplish their goals:
Virtual high school and middle school students are more likely to persist and graduate when someone expects them to succeed. High expectations are a condition for student success because “no one rises to low expectations.” Unfortunately, many institutions do not expect enough of their students and demand too little toward student learning. OKVHS/MS Student Achievement Coordinators expect the students they work with to succeed, and they work hard to motivate them to reach their academic goals.
Virtual high school and middle students are more likely to persist and graduate when they can see how their current academic career relates to their future goals and dreams. SAC’s assist in providing clear and consistent information about requirements of the online program. They do this so that students know exactly what is expected of them in order to stay in the program and what they have to do on a daily basis to finish successfully. Student Achievement Coordinators also discuss future plans and encourage students to prepare for their future by succeeding in their courses now and they help students see the path they will take to reach their dreams
Virtual high school and middle school students are more likely to persist and graduate when they are valued personally by their school. The frequency and quality of contact with a student achievement coordinator is an important, independent predictor of student persistence. Every contact made with a student is focused on encouraging and motivating them to complete their academic goals.
Teachers and Tutors
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 Oklahoma Virtual HS/MS, 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. Put these tips and ideas into action, and make sure your student knows their responsibilities for learning and succeeding.
Parents should login to the Parent Portal daily to track their student’s progress.
The Parent Portal is a password protected site where parents can see their student’s progress online. Parents can login anytime, anywhere there is an Internet connection. Parents can view:
- Course Assignments and Test Grades
- Student Calendar showing the assignments students should complete each day
- A Progress Report
- Attendance Reports showing time logged in to the system
- Plus more
If a valid parent email address is provided on the student application, parents will receive an email with login information for the Parent Portal. Make sure to check your Junk or Spam mail as sometimes the email is delivered to the junk mail folder. If you do not receive a login to the Parent Portal, call a Student Achievement Coordinator at 866-235-3276, # 4.
- Provide a dedicated online school work environment for your student at home or wherever they will be completing their school work. It is risky to think that students can sit in front of the TV or at a different spot each day and believe that work will be completed. It is too easy for students to become distracted and be wooed off task. See the section “Get Ready, Get Set, Go!” down below on this newsletter to read more about setting up an appropriate online school work environment.
- Be involved in your student’s progress and check their school work daily. Do not assume or believe that because your student is sitting at the computer that they are doing their school work. Also, do not be deceived if you see your student is spending hours on the computer. Students can explain away time on the computer that is not really academic in nature. We have seen many parents who took their student’s word for it that they were working, only to find it was not school work on which they were spending time. Even good students who have always done what they are supposed to, can find themselves procrastinating and then get behind. They are then too scared to let parents know this has happened. Stay on top of their coursework. If you don’t login to the Parent Portal, go with your student to their computer, have them login and show you what they are doing, what work they have completed and have them show you their grades and their student calendar.
- Keep your students motivated by instituting rewards and penalties, and by setting goals for completing their coursework on time. Make your expectations known up front and be specific about what you will require. It is very doable for students to finish their coursework on time and even early and to do so while making good grades. Give students an incentive to accomplish this by setting weekly goals and providing rewards if they accomplish them. Also, let your student know that you will be logging into the Parent Portal and tracking their progress.
- Call any of your student’s teachers or Student Services staff members to help or give input. We are here to help if there are questions we can answer or concerns we can address. We look forward to assisting you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to do anything this summer while I wait for the first semester to start?
Just check your email about 10 days before your semester starts, and look for a webinar invite, along with a goal-setting worksheet. Also, prepare your at-home online school environment, make sure your computer and Internet are up to speed, and visit the Counselor Website at http://www.oklahomavirtualhighschool.com/counselor to start planning for your career and college.
Who will issue my high school diploma?
The partner Oklahoma school district in which you are ultimately enrolled will issue your diploma. The diploma will be issued when you have fulfilled the graduation requirements for the school.
Will I attend a graduation ceremony?
In most cases, OKVHS seniors will graduate in a traditional ceremony with students from the partnering school district. The school district will provide seniors with graduation information and can answer questions you might have.
When do I begin my classes?
Students will login and begin their coursework on the first day of class for the school district in which you are enrolled. If for some reason you are accepted to the program later in the summer, you may have to begin course work after the actual first day of school. Note that even if you must start your courses after the official start date of class, you must still finish your courses by the last day of the semester.
Do I have to login to my courses every day?
The student course calendar, (generally, 120 days IF the student is enrolled by the first day of the semester) is setup to show students what they must complete in their courses each day in order to finish by the end of the semester. Our experience tells us that students who login and work every day are more successful than students who do not. Students can work in their courses at their own pace but they must adhere to the Truancy policy of the school district.
What is a Truancy Policy?
Online students are required to “attend” class by logging in and completing work. If students do not login and complete work for a period of time, they are considered “absent” by the state of Oklahoma and may be reported as truant, and/or withdrawn by the school. Students and parents will be contacted via telephone and/or mail when they are in danger of being considered truant. Please contact a Student Achievement Coordinator for more information about the OKVHS attendance and truancy policy.
How quickly can I move through a course?
You may move through courses at your own pace and finish them early. However, students may not begin second semester courses until it starts. Students are not allowed to work on second semester courses in the first semester.
Who is my teacher?
To offer students the greatest flexibility and availability to highly qualified teachers for the greatest number of hours a day students can solicit the help of any teacher in any subject area. There is not one specific teacher assigned to a student for any one course. Instead, students can engage and get help from any available teacher in a subject area.
How do I communicate with my teachers?
You can send instant messages throughout the day and evening to available teachers using our Talk to Teacher feature. This option provides a Whiteboard and other helpful elements to enhance this type of communication. You may also use the internal email system called Classmail and teachers are also available via telephone.
What materials are needed for my courses?
Your courses are 100% online and there is very little need for any outside materials to complete them. There are some readings in English that require novels that are obtained by the student. If you take an AP Course, there is a physical textbook that is provided by OKVHS.
What are the system requirements for my computer and my Internet connection?
See the System Requirements at http://www.oklahomavirtualhighschool.com/requirements.pdf on the OKVHS website for computer system requirements. It is highly suggested that you use a high speed Internet connection for your courses. Your courses can be completed using a dial-up connection, but it will take much longer to load pages and complete work.
Who do I call if I have a question and don’t know who to ask?
The beginning of this newsletter lists the services provided and contact information for Advanced Academics staff and for the school district. If this does not provide you with the information you need, you can call a Student Achievement Coordinator Toll Free at 1-866-235-3276 then #4 or locally at 405-239-1900.
Get Your Computer & Technology Needs Ready
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. Go to http://ergonomics.about.com/od/office/ss/computer_setup_6.htm to read more about the benefits of a proper desk chair and computer posture or watch a video at http://video.about.com/ergonomics/Sit-in-Front-of-a-Computer.htm 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.
Attention New Students!
Please check your email for important information regarding your mandatory online orientation. About 10 days prior to your semester start date you will be emailed an Orientation Guide which will lead you through several short videos and help you gain a better understanding of how to get started, who to contact for help, and important OKVHS policies. We encourage both students and parents to participate in this mandatory orientation. Once you’ve completed the orientation you will be instructed to contact your Student Achievement Coordinator to discuss your goals for the school year. Your SAC will also address any additional questions you may have and will help you get started on your first course at OKVHS! Please remember to check your email for your Orientation Guide!
What Are Your Goals?
Setting goals helps increase your motivation, gives you purpose and direction, and helps you organize your time and resources. We encourage you to set academic and life goals throughout the year. To assist with this we will be providing all students with a Goal-Setting Worksheet. New students will receive their Goal-Setting Worksheet via email along with their Orientation Guide. Returning students will receive their Goal-Setting Worksheet via Classmail during the first week of school. (Classmails are the emails you receive through the school site). Please make sure to check your email or Classmail, complete your goal-setting worksheet, and contact your Student Achievement Coordinator to review your goals! Parents, we ask that you help your student set goals and discuss them often to ensure your student is taking the proper steps to accomplish each goal. Please remember to check your email or Classmail for your Goal-Setting Worksheet!