TOPS CONTACT GUIDE
Elementary School Counselor
Middle School Counselors
High School Counselors
Do I have to take the STAAR/EOC?
Yes, per TEA, all public school students are required to take the STAAR/EOC assessments. According to Section 26 of the Texas Education Code (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.26.htm), parents may not remove their students from instruction for the purpose of missing any test or assessment. This includes state-mandated testing requirements. Therefore, there is no "opting out" of any state test or assessment.
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.
Do I have to be on Webcam during the benchmark and interim assessments? Why do I have to leave my microphone on?
Teachers and Staff require students to utilize webcam during the assessment, as well as leave their microphones on. 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).
What is a lock date?
A lock date is the end of a grading period. All assignments and assessments must be completed by the lock date. The purpose of a lock date is to keep students on track with deadlines and due dates. Students will not be able to access assignments and assessments in the course after the lock date without approval from their teacher.
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 week as a "Course Snapshot" email, exceeding the TEC. 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 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. In 2019-2020 we launched a HS E-Sports team.
Academic Calendar 2022-23
Ms. Angie Crow, TOPS Elementary Principal
Angie has been teaching students and leading teachers for over 20 years. This is her 7th year with Stride. She has a Master's Degree in Educational Technology and has taught at many grade levels from Transitional Kindergarten to Middle School. She has been in numerous leadership roles at Middle and Elementary before moving into the Principal position for TOPS Elementary.
Angie has two amazing college aged daughters. She is originally from Montana with a stop over in California before becoming a Texan. She is an avid reader who loves to travel as well!
She is excited to come back to Elementary and her roots! She hopes to help strengthen our community at TOPS and continue to watch our school SOAR!
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. 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.
Ms. Gant, Stride Career Prep Principal
Ms. Gant is super enthusiastic to join the TOPS family as the Texas Stride Career Prep Principal. This is Ms. Gant’s 17th year in education where she has had the honor of educating and serving in Fort Bend ISD, overseas in the United Arab Emirates, and most recently here with our K12 family. She received her bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University, her Jurist Doctorate from Western Michigan Cooley Law School, and her Master’s in Education Administration from Houston Baptist University. She is thrilled to continue this part of her journey with our TOPS students and families.
Phone: (469) 830-9835
Mrs. Nanini, Executive Director