South Colonie Virtual Academy

As the South Colonie Central School District welcomes students back to the virtual classroom, parents and students can use this web page to find important information and updates related to South Colonie Virtual Academy.  Please visit this page frequently for the most up-to-date information.

Overview of South Colonie Virtual Academy
Virtual Academy Contacts
Switching to in-person 
IT Support
Absentee Procedures
Resources 
Virtual Learning Tips


Overview of South Colonie Virtual Academy

Grades K-6

Students who are assigned to the virtual academy will be assigned to their virtual classroom to which they are assigned through January 29.  

  • There will be an instructor(s) assigned to each grade level.  Instructor(s) will work with all virtual students throughout the district who are at that grade level.  For example, a first-grader at Forest Park will be enrolled in a virtual classroom with first graders from Shaker Road.  
  • The instructional program will include a blended approach that includes on-line Google meets, video lessons, and exposure to various online learning platforms.  Additionally, students may be engaged in both large and small group instructional experiences when engaged in Google meets.
  • Google Classroom has been adopted as the Learning Management System (LMS) in grades UPK-12. All coursework will be assigned through this platform. 
  • Synchronous instruction will be provided.  During this block, students will be asked to sign in at a set time to work online with an instructor.
  • Asynchronous instruction will also be provided.  During this block, students will be expected to complete assignments, practice math facts, for example, and complete instructional activities at their own pace.
  • Video lessons from the appropriate grade levels will be used in the Virtual Academy.  Students will be asked to view those lessons and complete associated assignments which will be reviewed by the instructor assigned.
  • District resources such as, i-Ready, Raz-Kids and other online platforms will be used as part of the instructional experience.  All web 2.0 resources are Ed Law 2D compliant. 
  • Students in the Virtual Academy will not be following a traditional school schedule throughout the school day.  The schedule developed for these students may include Google Meets, independent learning and video lessons, but it will not be a “live stream” of a class that students will view for an entire school day.
  • Related services will be provided in a virtual or “telesupport” manner as scheduled by the student’s designated service provider. 
  • English Language Learners will be provided with virtual support as scheduled with the student’s designated English New Language teacher

Virtual Academy Contacts

Gregory Bearup, Virtual Academy Co-Principal
Jennifer Wells, Virtual Academy Co-Principal
Stephen Doran, Virtual Academy Assistant Principal

To request virtual learning for your child, please contact your child’s building principal or Deneen Bogdanowicz, Registrar at bogdanowiczd@scolonie.org

*Please note that virtual learning requests take up to 5-7 days to accommodate.  Once your child is assigned to a virtual classroom they are to remain to the classroom to which they are assigned through January 29.


Switching to in-person 

As South Colonie plans for the second semester and a return to the classroom for some  students who are currently enrolled in virtual academy they are looking for feedback from families.

Parents and guardians of elementary and middle school students who would like to shift their child to the in-person classroom option for the start of the second semester must fill out this form to notify us of the intent to shift from Virtual Academy to the in-person no later than October 30, 2020.

This feedback will provide time for the district to reassign teachers as student enrollments shift.

No response is required for families who are planning to continue with remote instruction in the Virtual Academy.


IT Support

Google Classroom

Google Classroom has been adopted as the Learning Management System (LMS) in grades UPK-12. All coursework will be assigned through this platform. An overview of Google Classroom can be found here.  

Google Meet Etiquette

All students who are learning remotely will participate in virtual classes or meetings via Google Meets or other district-approved video conferencing tools. Participating in video conferences is a great way to stay connected with teachers and classmates, but it is important for you to understand and follow these expectations which will ensure that ALL students are able to fully engage and participate in these virtual classes.

    • Remember that you are on camera and live. Your teacher and fellow students can see what you are wearing and your facial expression. Find a quiet place in your house and dress appropriately as you would for an in-person class.
    • Mute your microphone (mic): Keep your mic on mute until the teacher calls on you and it’s your turn to speak. This will reduce background noise.
    • Remember you are not anonymous. Be mindful of your expressions, speaking tones, and what you say. Your voice and video are viewed by everyone participating in the conference. Other people in your house can hear what you and others in the video conference are saying.
    • Speak up! Physically raise your hand or use the Raise-Your-Hand feature and unmute your mic when the teacher calls on you and it’s your turn to speak. Use school appropriate language as the meeting may be recorded.
    • Do not use the Chat feature with your class unless the teacher states it is okay to do so. When using the chat room, write using school appropriate language. Remember that the class meeting is public and a record of the chat is retained.
    • Be on time. Classes are scheduled just as they are during regular school days. Teachers will expect you to arrive on time and remain present for the duration of the class. Attendance will be taken.
    • Keep your camera on and be seen. Unless otherwise permitted by your teacher remain visible by keeping your camera on.
    • Think before you speak. Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are clear and appropriate to the conversation. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in your actual classroom.
    • Be kind and considerate. Follow the same classroom rules that you would follow in real life. Listen to the teacher. Take turns to speak. Respect others.
    • Think before you type. If your teacher enables the Chat feature you may be able to participate by typing into a chatbox. Choose your words carefully. Use appropriate spelling and grammar. Stay on topic. Don’t use sarcasm or humor that could be misunderstood. Don’t type in all caps.

Chromebook Tips

For tips on how to best use your Chromebook including shortcuts, updates and more, visit this page.

Help Desk Ticket

If you are having trouble with technology, submit a technology help desk ticket here.


Absentee Procedures: What to do if your child is sick

Regular school attendance has a huge impact on a student’s academic success.

K-4

In the event that your child is sick and is unable to attend Virtual Academy, please notify your child’s teacher.


Resources

How Parents Can Support Children With Special Needs During Distance Learning


Virtual Learning Tips: Help your children find success with remote learning

Establish routines and expectations

From the first day that your child(ren) begins remote learning, families need to establish routines and expectations. South Colonie encourages families to set regular hours for their children’s schoolwork.

    • Begin studies shortly before the first scheduled class of each day.
    • Keep normal bedtime routines for younger children and expect the same from your MS and HS aged students, too.
    • Make sure your children move regularly and take periodic breaks as they study. 

Define the physical space for your child’s study

Your child may have a regular place for doing homework under normal circumstances, but this space may or may not be suitable for an extended space/location where their children will learn most of the time.

This space should be:

    • A public/family space, not in a child’s bedroom.
    • A place that can be quiet at times and have a strong wireless internet signal, if possible.
    • A space where parents/guardians are present and monitoring their children’s learning.

Monitor communications from your children’s teachers

Teachers will communicate with parents/guardians through Google Classroom/Remind and/or email as necessary. The frequency and detail of these communications will be determined by your children’s ages, maturity, and their degree of independence. South Colonie encourages parents/guardians to contact their children’s teachers as needed. However, we ask parents/guardians to remember that teachers will be communicating with dozens of other families and that communications should be essential and succinct. We will attempt to respond as soon as possible, but please allow for a reasonable amount of time for a response during the regular school week.

Begin and end each day with a check-in

Parents/Guardians are encouraged to start and finish each day with a simple check-in:

  • In the morning, ask what is your child learning today?
  • What are their learning targets or goals?
  • How will they spend their time?
  • What resources do they require?
  • What support do they need?

This brief grounding conversation matters. It allows children to process the instructions they’ve received from their teachers. It helps them organize themselves and set priorities. Older students may not want to have these check-ins with parents/guardians (that’s normal!), but they should nevertheless. Families should establish these check-ins as regular parts of each day. Not all students thrive in a remote learning environment; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure. These check-in routines need to be established early before students fall behind or begin to struggle.

Take an active role in helping your children process and own their learning

In the course of a regular school day, your child engages with other students or adults dozens if not hundreds of times. These social interactions and opportunities for collaboration include turning to a peer to exchange a thought or idea, participating in small or large group discussions, asking questions for clarification, collaborating on group projects, and countless other moments. While some of these social interactions will be re-created on virtual platforms, others will not.

Students learn best when they have opportunities to process their learning with others. Beyond the check-ins recommended at the start and end of each day, families should regularly circle back and engage with their children about what they’re learning. However, it’s important that your child owns their work; don’t complete assignments for them, even when they are struggling. 

Take an active role in helping your children process and own their learning

In the course of a regular school day, your child engages with other students or adults dozens if not hundreds of times. These social interactions and opportunities for collaboration include turning to a peer to exchange a thought or idea, participating in small or large group discussions, asking questions for clarification, collaborating on group projects, and countless other moments. While some of these social interactions will be re-created on virtual platforms, others will not.

Students learn best when they have opportunities to process their learning with others. Beyond the check-ins recommended at the start and end of each day, families should regularly circle back and engage with their children about what they’re learning. However, it’s important that your child owns their work; don’t complete assignments for them, even when they are struggling. 

Encourage physical activity and/or exercise

Make sure your children remember to move and exercise. This is vitally important to their health, wellbeing, and to their learning. South Colonie’s physical education teachers will recommend activities or exercises, but it is important for parents/guardians to model and encourage exercise!

Remain mindful of your child’s stress or worry

It is imperative for parents/guardians to help their children manage the worry, anxiety, and range of emotions they may experience. Difficult though it may be, do your best not to transfer your stress or worry to your children. They will be out of sorts, whether they admit it or not, and need as much normal routine as parents/guardians can provide. Parents can also reach out to their child’s classroom teacher, school counselor, or principal, if additional support or resources are needed.

Monitor how much time your child is spending online

South Colonie does not want its students staring at computer screens for an extraordinary amount of time each day. Teachers have established timeframes for each class/subject for each day. Please communicate with your teacher if your child is struggling with the allotted time frame.