How It Works (Middle School)

Work Completion Expectation

In middle school, student learning changes to a semester-based approach where students are required to earn a passing grade of 60 percent or above on their assignments and online lessons. Due dates are assigned to lessons to encourage consistent, steady progress for academic success. Attending teacher-led, direct-instruction, online synchronous Class Connect sessions, along with completing coursework, will also assist with student success. Middle school teachers will work with families to ensure students are progressing academically as expected. To achieve success, it's in the student's best interest to follow the pacing schedule that's assigned for each course.

Parent/Learning Coach

Middle school is a time when students become more independent, taking on more responsibility and ownership for their learning. A parent (or other responsible adult) serves as a Learning Coach to the child. Parent/Learning Coach involvement is critical for student success, as middle school students continue to build their organization and time-management skills. Teachers set the pace of instruction, but the Learning Coach helps the student stay on track.

Parent/Learning Coach involvement may vary per child and grade level. The initial 4–8 weeks can be intensive as families settle into a routine. Students in grades 6–8 build self-advocacy skills and work more directly with teachers, but parent/Learning Coach involvement is essential for at least 20 hours a week and roughly 50–60 percent of this time is online.

Working with Your Teacher

While online lessons can usually be completed at any time of day, students will be required to attend live Class Connect sessions with their teacher(s) based on the student's individual needs. During Class Connect sessions, students will receive direct instruction from teachers and have opportunities to interact with classmates. In addition to regular, synchronous classroom instruction, teachers may offer support or small group sessions to assist in student learning. Parents/Learning Coaches are encouraged to contact their child's homeroom teacher any time they have questions or concerns.

Attendance

Attendance is logged Monday through Friday; however, academic progress can be achieved during the weekends as well. Middle school students are expected to spend approximately 4–7 hours on schoolwork per school day. For more information on attendance requirements please review the attendance policy contained in our Student and Parent Handbook.

Email

Email is the primary form of communication between the school and families. Learning Coaches and students are required to check and respond to emails on a daily basis.

Assessments

Our testing is purposeful and meaningful, and drives our instructional practices to best serve the individual needs of your child. In addition to quizzes and tests within online courses, students will take Star360 assessments upon enrollment and several more times throughout the school year. Star360 assessments in math and reading provide information regarding academic strengths and weaknesses and student growth in both of these subjects. Students in all grades will take the Star360 assessment at the start of the school year and/or upon enrollment, and again at several interim points through the year. Each assessment will take about 20–30 minutes. These assessments will be taken virtually. Star360 is adaptive and adjusts questions to your child's learning level based upon responses. A student report will be sent to each Learning Coach.

Middle school students may also work within USA Test Prep. USA Test Prep is an assessment tool that aligns with Pennsylvania state academic standards. USA Test Prep is used for instruction and assessment across subject areas in grades 6–10. The grades for these assignments will be available in your student's gradebook within the appropriate course and are an integral part of the course. Your student can use this program from any computer with internet access.

State Testing

PSSAs

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) measures how well students have mastered academic standards in reading, mathematics, science and writing. The chart below shows the assessments students will take in each grade band. The annual Pennsylvania System School Assessment is a standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment which provides students, parents, educators, and citizens with an understanding of student and school performance related to the attainment of proficiency of the academic standards.  These standards in English/language arts, mathematics, and science and technology identify what a student should know and be able to do at varying grade levels. Individual student scores, provided only to their respective schools, can be used to assist teachers in identifying students who may be in need of additional educational opportunities, and school scores provide information to schools and districts for curriculum and instruction improvement discussions and planning.

It is the responsibility of the Learning Coach to ensure that students participate in mandatory state and benchmark testing. Failure to attend testing will result in accrual of unexcused absences and could result in truancy action.

Assessment Grade Level
ELA 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Math 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Science 4th, 8th