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Counseling Team

Sarah Sumrall

Student Support Manager


Phone: 469-500-7505

Elementary School

Middle School

High School


Important Documents

Parent-Student Handbook

Note: At any time, this document may be changed, edited, or updated to reflect policy or procedural changes.


Do I have to take the STAAR/EOC?

Yes, per TEA, all public school students are required to take the STAAR/EOC assessments. There is no opting-out of STAAR/EOC per the Texas Education Code.

Will the STAAR/EOC assessment be online? Can I take it at home?

At TOPS, we do use computer-based STAAR/EOC assessments. However students will travel to a testing location, which will be confirmed 4 weeks from the testing date, that is within 60 miles one-way of your current address. Families in major metro areas may have multiple testing location options. Computers are provided at the testing locations.

What is the MAP Assessment and how will it help my student?

MAP is an assessment that is given in Math and Reading to students in grades 3-11. The data from the MAP assessment is used to monitor your student’s academic growth in Math and

Reading by skill. For more information on the MAP assessment, here’s a quick video:

What if my student does not understand all of the content on the MAP Assessment?

Not knowing all of the content on the assessment is normal. Students are expected to miss upwards of 50% of the questions covered on the assessment. The assessment is setup to cover skills taught both below and above grade level. That being said, encourage your student, but allow them to struggle through the assessment. If they do not know an answer, they should put down their best answer and move on to the next question. Doing difficult things builds perseverance, and once they master the concepts they didn’t know previously, they build self-confidence, too.

Do I have to be on Webcam during the MAP Assessment?

Teachers and Staff require students to utilize webcam during the assessment. This allows us to ensure the testing environment is free from distractions and outside help. If

your webcam does not work, or you do not have one, just let the teacher know. However, please ensure that students do not have access to other resources (Google, workbooks, calculators-unless instructed otherwise), and allow them to do the assessment on their own.. Students can be required to retake the assessment if testing results don't appear authentic.

How does grading work?

At TOPS, there are two types of grades that are included in our systems. The first are CGA's, or computer-graded assignments. CGA's are inside the online school and these are captured by our platform/system. The second are TGA's or teacher-graded assignments. TGA's are tracked both inside and outside of our system (USATP, FlipGrid, GoFormative, Classlink), and teachers are required to input these grades within 5 business days of receipt. If TGA's are

turned in late, teachers have up until the progress report to enter the grades. Teachers also put in 0's or Missing Grades on Fridays (Elem) and Thursdays (MS/HS).

When will I receive report cards and progress reports?

Parents will receive a DocuSign link to retrieve student report cards every 9 weeks (Elem) and every 6 weeks (MS/HS). Progress report notifications are sent out every 3rd week (MS/HS) or every 4th week (Elem) in accordance with the TEC. In addition, every Tuesday around noon, and starting from the beginning of September, you will receive a “Course Snapshot” email which will include all of your student’s grades. These grades are current as of 5 pm the day prior or Monday. These may not reflect those TGA’s submitted the prior Thursday or Friday.

My grade is incorrect! I think the system may not be correct!

If you believe a grade is incorrect, or that the system is somehow not capturing the grades correctly, you should contact the teacher and also submit “Feedback” or “Course Feedback” within the online school. If it is found that there is a system error or an incorrect question, K12 corporate may contact the school or the LC to get more information. As a note, parent-provided screenshots may not be used to verify a grade that is different from the system. However, they may be used by IT or corporate to help remedy any issues.

How do I know what's graded and what's not?

In MS/HS, graded items are identified as "circle" icons on the daily/weekly plan. Lessons are identified as "folder" icons. All "circles" are graded items and are due by the due date. All "folders" are the recommended learning path for the day. These help students to do well on the graded items. In Elementary, the quizzes and assessments are identified by name, or they are embedded into the individual assignments for each day. We recommend reviewing all of the assigned lessons in elementary.

How do I know if my student is absent?

Students are considered absent only when they have missed a full-day of school. At TOPS, absences are tracked in accordance with state truancy laws. This means that absences in succession, or multiple absences over the course of a grading cycle or semester, may result in a formal letter being sent to parents. Students are counted present and considered to be actively participating by completing coursework in the online school daily and/or by attending live class connects and/or watching recorded class connects. Each day, the LC of students

who have not logged in by roughly 10:30 am will be sent a RoboCall to alert them.

I received an attendance letter, but I have completed all of my work and I attend my class connects.

As a public school, students are required to be in attendance each day. Students who work ahead and then do not attend school on the day in which this work is due will be counted absent. TOPS offers social opportunities and help labs on Fridays, and we encourage students to work ahead to the next week’s content or attend one of these sessions live or by recording to ensure they are counted present.

How are you tracking my student’s attendance?

We track attendance by monitoring course completion (defined as: complete any module, unit, or submitting a quiz/test/assignment within the OLS), by logging minutes spent in live class connects, and by logging minutes spent viewing class connect recordings. If there is

an outage within a live class connect, there is no need to submit additional evidence of attendance through email. The teacher may reschedule the class connect or publish a recording at a later date

How often will we meet in-person with other families?

The two K12 TX schools (TVAH/TOPS) hold two combined outings each year. These are typically at parks or outdoor venues. These will include staff from the local area in attendance. In addition, TOPS is organizing a parent coalition and Admin will work with this group to hold additional outings.

How often will students see one another online?

In Newrow, students chat and utilize microphones and webcam to converse. This will allow students to see each other often. We discourage students from sharing personal information in chat, but understand they may do so. Parents should coach children as to how to share information across all forms of media.

Is there a Parent Organization @ TOPS?

There is no formal parent organization @ TOPS. This group will meet quarterly with administration to discuss programs. In addition, the Head of School Advisory Board will encompass parent representatives.

What online clubs and organizations do you have?

Each campus has multiple club offerings unique to student interests and grade-levels. However, TOPS offers many of the same clubs as brick and mortar schools, including NHS, NJHS, and Student Council. Last year we launched a HS E-Sports team.

Academic Calendar 2021-22

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Important Forms

Required Postings

TOPS Administration

Mrs. Nelson, Head of School

Elizabeth Nelson has 12 years of experience in education, including teaching math and economics, writing math curriculum, helping at-risk students achieve success, and focusing on a data-driven culture. She joined the K12 team in 2014 as a math teacher at Arizona Virtual Academy and transitioned to middle school lead teacher before joining Texas Online Preparatory School as the Middle School & High School Principal in 2017. In 2019, she left Texas Online Preparatory School to launch Texas eSchool Prep as the Head of School. Elizabeth was excited to launch Lone Star Online Academy at Roscoe in November of 2020 with the opportunity to offer virtual school to Texas students in PreK-5, but unfortunately, the Texas legislation did not allow the school to remain open. Now she is thrilled to be returning to her TOPS family for the 2021-22 school year as the Head of School.

She earned a Bachelor's in Mathematics with a minor in economics and a second Bachelors's in Secondary Education from Indiana University. Additionally, she holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Ball State University and principal certification in Texas and Arizona.

Elizabeth and her family, including four out of eight children, two dogs, 11 dwarf goats, and three geckos, enjoy the country life in the Texas Hill Country in the Cowboy Capital of the World.




Mrs. Laechelin, High School Principal

Mrs. Laechelin graduated from Texas A&M University with an undergraduate degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. She earned her Master of Education degree from Texas State University. Mrs. Laechelin has been honored to teach science courses ranging from AP Physics all the way down to 6th grade science, and everything in between. In 2016, Mrs. Laechelin joined the K12 family as a Southern Region Instructional Coach where she supported schools across the nation on improving instruction and student learning. 2019 was the best year for Mrs. Laechelin as she joined the TOPS family as High School Assistant Principal. She is currently the High School Principal. She and her husband live in south Texas with their four boys, dogs, cattle, cows, horses, donkeys, chickens, peacocks, and more. Mrs. Laechelin has a love for education and supporting each student to reach his/her potential. When not working, she enjoys reading, running, and spending time outdoors with her family.


Mrs. Frost, Middle School Principal

Crystal graduated from Austin Peay State University with a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Diversity and Education. In 2010, she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from Trevecca Nazarene University. Crystal has taught grades K-8 in Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas. Her experience in the K12 family includes 5 years of 8th grade ELA-first at TXVA and then at TOPS. This is her third year as TOPS Middle School Principal.


Mrs. Iley, Elementary School Principal

Jayne Iley has 35 years’ experience in the field of education including positions ranging from a classroom teacher to principal. She joined K12/Fuel Education as an English teacher in 2009, transitioned to a State Lead in 2015, moved to a Teacher Supervisor in 2018, and served as the academic administrator/principal for Texas eSchool Prep for the 2019-20 school year, and Lone Star Online Academy for the 2020-21 school year. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Texas State University. She holds a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Walden University and a Texas Principal’s Certification. Jayne and her husband live on their cattle ranch in South Central Texas. In the fall, they operate a pecan harvesting business. They have two daughters, two wonderful sons-in-law, and 3 amazing grandchildren. This year Jayne is exciting to work with the amazing team at TOPS Elementary School.