FAQS - Fall 2020


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    Updated July 23

    General Comments 

    • First day of instruction is Monday, August 17.
    • All classes will have letter grades.
    • This plan is only for the first semester. We hope to return to more traditional instruction in the second semester.

    Common Questions about Synchronous Online Learning (Option A)

    Online Class Structure

    What will the structure of the day look like? Will the “school day” be four hours of online “zoom like” lectures?

    Students will follow a daily instructional schedule where they will log onto their class and teachers will take attendance. The format of the daily class experience will vary depending on the content being covered. Students may work in break-out rooms in small groups, they may have some independent work time, or participate in large group discussions. Students will work on many of the same activities that they have during in-person class periods. We do not anticipate that it will be four hours of zoom or video conferencing every day. 

    How much time will my student have per class per day?

    The schedule currently includes about 180 minutes of instruction per class per week. Students will rotate through alternating periods every day. 

    Will a SMUHSD teacher from my home school be my student’s teacher?

    Yes, in almost every case. In the synchronous online model students will have access to a teacher from their home school. Their schedule will be similar to what they signed-up for in the spring with content/grade level teachers assigned to a class of about 30 students.  

    What are the plans for visual and performing arts classes, or classes like music or ceramics?

    Our Visual and Performing art teachers are creating ways to support students in continuing their studies in these subjects. Our VAPA teachers are embracing the online platform and adapting lessons to benefit from being on Zoom - for example, in Drama, students will do an 'Acting for the Camera' unit and will work with modern TV and Film scripts. Digital Media classes will have access to the Adobe Creative Suite so students will be able to continue with their work in Photo, Video, Animation and Game Design. Teachers are being trained to use Zoom Tools like shared screens and breakout rooms to provide pair and small group instruction/rehearsal time as needed. In addition, the longer class times will allow VAPA teachers to go more depth into class rehearsals, performances, and individual practice. Finally, Zoom classes will enable guest speakers and teaching artists from all over the world to give presentations and master classes to VAPA students. 


    What will homework look like? How often and how much?

    Homework will look very similar to our normal school setting. Students will be assigned homework in the model and will count toward students’ grades in the course. Teachers will continue to follow the district homework policy. 


    What will tests and assessments look like in this environment?

    Whenever possible, students will be assessed on their learning throughout the semester through more authentic means which includes open-ended questions, projects, presentations, discussion participation, etc. In addition, the District will provide secure testing options for teachers that include, but are not limited to, proctoring students while they take assessments as well as digital lock-down browser options.

    How will possible cheating be addressed? 

    Traditional discipline procedures will be followed related to all issues of academic integrity. 


    How will attendance be taken?

    Attendance is a state requirement and SMUHSD is responsible for reporting daily attendance and responding to non-attenders. Attendance will be taken based on student participation in each course period.

    What if a student has an excused absence?

    Students/families inform the District in the traditional way that they inform us of absences (via the Attendance Office). Students will have the ability to make-up work, and absences will need to be reported. 

    What if a teacher is sick? How will a substitute manage classes? 

    The District is working on a way to support students in the event of a teacher absence.

    Small Group Work

    Will smaller group projects be assigned?

    Yes, teachers will continue to use small group work to support student learning. Small group work will be coordinated through technology like shared google documents, Canvas Conferencing, Zoom breakout rooms, Padlets, etc  

    Lab Classes

    How will science experiments happen?

    The District science coordinator in collaboration with science teachers across the District are reviewing options of providing students with lab materials that they can use remotely. Once the supplies have been identified, students will be provided with these materials. Teachers are also reviewing options for online simulations to mimic lab experiments. 

    Common Questions about Independent Study through Edgenuity (Option B)


    How do the Edgenuity classes work? Are they all pre-recorded? Is there a way for us to see a demo of what a lesson might look like?

    If a family would like to see how the courses operate, they may view: Course/experience overview. Edgenuity courses include pre-recorded lessons (with virtual instructors) and activities that students do on their own at their own pace. Each semester-long class has about 70-80 hours of content that students will engage in. Students will work on the self-paced coursework and take assessments with their instructor as they encounter them - at the end of each of the units. If a student has ever participated in our Credit Recovery summer school, they have experienced these classes and their structure/process.  It should be noted that Independent Study Edgenuity classes are more comprehensive and take more time than summer school make-up courses.

    What are the expectations of independent study students in terms of course load and what needs to be completed by the end of the semester?

    Full time independent study students will take 5-7 courses on the Edgenuity Platform.

    The courses are aligned to state standards for the subject. Students will need to progress through content by reading, listening to lectures and completing short quizzes in order to progress through the content. Students will take summative assessments at the end of each unit and potentially, on occasion (if relevant), written pieces to teachers.

    In the Independent Study model, what will the transcript look like? 

    The course will appear on the student’s transcript the same as courses taken through the Synchronous Online Learning Model. It will appear as a school course as part of SMUHSD.  

    Teacher Contact/check-in

    What does a weekly check in look like?

    The teacher will have one-on-one or small group meetings with students to discuss the student’s needs, review goals for the week, take assessments, and check on social emotional needs. Teacher assists with planning and time management strategies. 

    With Edgenuity, is there any opportunity for live interaction between instructors and students? 

    Yes, students are learning independently and asynchronously. Their teachers will have weekly check-ins with students, but this will be focused on monitoring students progress and not focused on the content of the course. While the instructors will be SMUHSD teachers, they are likely NOT to be credentialed in the subject matter a student is studying.

    With Edgenuity, who do students contact with questions about content? Someone from Edgenuity or from the high school?

    While SMUHSD hopes to hire staff to assist students with specific content, families should NOT plan for this.  Students who enroll in independent study should be prepared to work independently with minimal supervision and the personal motivation to learn.

    Monitoring Student Progress

    What if a student powers through and is finished before the semester ends?

    When the course is completed it will be placed on the student’s transcript with the grade received. Students will work with their independent study teacher to identify next steps to meet the educational goals of the student. 

    What is the plan if a student doesn’t do any work?

    The student will have an early intervention meeting with the counselor and/or administration about their progress. The team will develop a plan to intervene in the student’s achievement, determine the obstacles to the student’s success, and make appropriate modifications to the student’s learning plan. To repeat, students need to have the motivation and personal qualities to complete material independently.


    How are tests administered/conducted through Edgenuity?

    Tests are administered and managed by the teacher. Students cannot move forward in the course(s) until they show mastery. Students can take assessments multiple times. 

    What sort of feedback do students get on assignments and tests? Who do they talk to for follow-up on that feedback?

    Most of the feedback is in the form of class assignments, quizzes, tests, and writing assignments. 

    How are independent study students held accountable for their work and who monitors this?

    Students will have weekly check-in with a teacher. The teachers will provide updates on students’ progress, but students who choose this model of instruction should be self-motivated as they will not have frequent monitoring of  their progress.

    Comparison to Synchronous Online Learning (Choice A) 

    If the student is failing independent study can they be re-assigned to online learning?

    This may be allowable but not guaranteed as it would depend on several variables.  The student would have to have a transferable grade, there would need to be space available in the class requested and any health conditions may also impact the ability of the student to change course provider. 

    Will classes in the two different options be taught the same curriculum so students have learned similar content by the end of the semester? 

    The content and skills in our online platform are aligned with state standards. Students will learn much of the same content as their peers in the synchronous online model.  It is our experience that the material online is less interesting than that created by our teaching staff. 

    What content, depth, quality, or experience will students miss from Choice A if they go with Choice B, and vice versa?

    Students who choose Option B will not have the daily interactions with peers and their teachers. The students will be covering similar content but the structure will be more lecture-based and considerably less interactive. Option B has a similar depth of content but the nuances of understanding and learning that happen spontaneously in the synchronous model will not be available. 

    Common Questions for Coursework Outside for SMUHSD

    Community College Course Considerations 

    Will I, as the parent, receive progress reports from the Community College or other accredited institutions on how my student is doing?

    It will depend on the individual institutions practices regarding progress reports. In some instances, parents may not have access to progress. SMUHSD staff will not have access to students’ progress to share with families.  

    Eligible Institutions

    How do I know if an institution is accredited? 

    Students and families should verify with their school administrators/counselors that the institution they plan to attend is accredited. The local community colleges are accredited.

    Support for Students

    What kind of support will my student receive? 

    This will depend on the institution. SMUHSD does not have access to support students taking classes outside of our district. 

    Transfer back to SMUHSD

    Can my student transfer back to a SMUHSD course if they are not having success  in classes outside of the district?

    This may be allowable but not guaranteed as it would depend on several variables.  The student would have to have a transferable grade, there would need to be space available in the class requested and any health conditions may also impact the ability of the student to change course provider. 

    General School Questions

    In-Person Instruction

    What if in-person instruction is allowed and we don’t want our student to attend classes on campus?

    We will work with families as the health conditions change to ensure students, families health and safety. If the decision is made to allow some students on campus for instruction, any student will have the option to continue to receive instruction virtually from home.   

    Will in-person instruction occur in the fall semester? 

    This will depend on state and county guidelines as well as considerations for ensuring the health and safety of staff, students and our community at large. 

    Sports and  Extra-curricular Programs

    What will happen with Winter sports?

    CIF stated that three sports seasons will be condensed into two seasons (Winter and Spring). Starting December 1st or January 1st.

    What about other extra-curriculars? 

    SMUHSD will work closely with state and local health officials, and explore opportunities for other extra-curricular activities in a safe environment.

    If my student is an athlete, how will they demonstrate athletic eligibility?

    The CCS has not determined how they will handle academic eligibility for athletics. The District anticipates flexibility from the governing bodies on this topic. As a District, we will be advocating for a policy that allows students enrolled in five classes in any educational setting to be eligible.

    Student Orientation

    When will my school have orientation?

    Sites will decide on the times and process for orientations.  They must follow all guidelines, and plans are being shared with District administration for review. 


    How do I get a Chromebook for my student? Do they NEED a District Chromebook? 

    All students will be provided with a Chromebook. Priority distribution will be given to 9th grade students and students who do not have access to technology at home. By September, we hope to distribute chromebooks to all students. Students should use District issued devices to ensure students have access to all District tools. 

    Social Emotional Support for Students

    Will mental health services through SMUHSD be available? 

    Wellness counselors and School counselors will be available to assist with social emotional needs of our students by appointment. The District also has a partnership with Care Solace, an online resource with a live 24/7 concierge meant to assist individuals in finding local mental health related programs and counseling services. 

    Students with Special Needs

    Will students with IEPs have more flexibility?  

    Students who receive special education services will continue to receive support for their individual learning needs through both the IEP and a Distance Learning Plan that will be developed to address their educational needs. The IEP team will develop plans and specific accommodations that will be necessary for students to continue to access their education in this remote learning environment. Your student's case managers will oversee these plans and make ongoing changes as required.

    Will my student with a 504 continue to receive support? 

    Yes, students with 504 plans will continue to have access to support as outlined in their 504 plan. 

    Can a student choose the Independent Study track and still access their support clases? 

    Yes, students who need support classes like Guided Studies, AVID, English Support may still have access through synchronous online learning. (GS, AVID, English Support, etc.)?

    How will we ensure that students with special needs are on-track if they are in a non-SMUHSD environment for numerous classes?

    We recommend that students who need additional support choose Option A for their classes as they will have daily contact with a SMUHSD teacher and the variety of support classes are available through this option. 

    General Questions 

    How many classes can a student take outside of the SMUHSD?

    Classes should not exceed 40 credits toward graduation requirements for the entirety of their high school career. Students in SMUHSD programs like Middle College or E-College are an exception to this rule. 

    Will students be able to take classes not offered at their home schools but offered at other schools? 

    Because students would not have continued access to particular classes at other high schools and restraints within the master schedule, students are not allowed to take courses at other schools

    Will the District provide guidelines for families wanting to do hybrid versions of course offerings?  For example, what if a family tries UC Scout (AP Calc) and then decides mid September that the course isn't working out and wishes to return to their home school.  Is this allowed? 

    This may be allowable but not guaranteed as it would depend on several variables.  The student would have to have a transferable grade, there would need to be space available in the class requested and any health conditions may also impact the ability of the student to change course provider. 

    Can students choose a hybrid schedule (with some independent study courses and some courses that are Synchronous Online Learning)?

    Yes. Students/families may have schedules that combine synchronous (scheduled classes) and asynchronous (work at own pace) schedules. Hybrid schedules may result in students having holes in their schedule, this may be an issue if we progress through the phases of reopening.  Please complete the survey and be specific regarding your students’ coursework.

    Do school sites have to schedule around outside course offerings, and is the district taking the lead on this. 

    Families will need to create outside course schedules around students’ school site schedules. Some accommodations may be taken into consideration, but the high school schedule will be prioritized. For example, students who sign up for classes at a community college, and the times conflict with a student’s US History course, the school may attempt to change the US History time to accommodate, but no guarantees can be made. We would recommend changing the community college course meeting time. 

    Do Middle College students have a “choice?” 

    Yes, they can take Independent Study, but would have to participate with an advisory group. Students might be asked to return to their home school site, if they cannot participate in the Middle College community times. 

    Survey Specific Questions

    Is the survey binding or when can students & families make the final decision about their schedule? 

    The survey is binding. Please submit your survey by Friday July 24 at 6 p.m. If you wish to change responses you have already submitted, you can submit a new survey before 6 p.m on July 24 using the same link. Students may drop classes up to 12 weeks after the start of the semester. 

    When can the family drop/change their option during the school year? 

    Individual classes can be dropped until 12 weeks of the semester, without a course showing on the student’s transcript. No new classes can be started after the first 6 weeks. Beginning in the Spring of 2021, students must drop classes by the end of the first 6 weeks.  

    Would students be able to change their minds if a counselor advises a different choice?  

    A student may be able to move from Independent Study to Synchronous Online Learning or vice versa within the first 6 weeks of the semester. This will be done on a case-by-case basis, but there has to be a rationale based on mental health and/or disability need, not merely dislike/changed mind.

    If I already submitted a response to the survey and I have now changed my mind, how can I update my response?

    If you change your mind before the deadline of Friday, July 24, you may re-submit the survey using the same survey link