Parent and Student Handbook

Welcome to the Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield, a Commonwealth Virtual School (MAVA)! MAVA strives to prepare its students to participate in the discoveries and challenges of the future with the foundations of wisdom, personal discipline, and elightenment.

Please take time to read this handbook over with your student and become familiar with its man policies and procedures, and feel free to call us at any time if you need any clarifications.

Click here to view our full 2016-2017 Parent and Student Handbook [PDF]

Additionally, please download our Family Compact, sign it and return it to your child's homeroom teacher via "File Sharing". Please click click here to view the Family Compact [PDF].

Below you will find highlights from our handbook. Please feel free to use the "translate our site" button should you need these highlights in a different language.

Principles of Good Practice for MAVA

The following principles of good practice describe the respective roles and responsibilities of parents, Learning Coaches and our school:

School Working with Parents & Learning Coaches: What You Can Expect of Us

The school recognizes that effective partnerships are characterized by clearly defined responsibilities, a shared commitment to collaboration, open lines of communication, mutual respect, and a common vision of the goals to be reached. To this end it should be the parents’ expectation that:

The school will read and respond to all Kmails or phone calls that ask for a response within 24 to 48 hours.

The school will clearly and fully present its philosophy, program, and practices to parents and Learning Coaches during the admission process and encourage dialogue that clarifies parental expectations and aspirations for the student.

The school will seek and value the parents and Learning Coaches’ perspective on the student.

Teachers and leadership will be accessible to parents and Learning Coaches and will model candid and open dialogue.

The school will keep parents and Learning Coaches well-informed through systematic reports, conferences, website publications, calendars, and informal conversations.

The school will clearly define how parents and Learning Coaches can be involved when considering major decisions that affect the school community.

The school will offer and support a variety of parent and Learning Coaches education opportunities.

The school will suggest effective ways for parents and Learning Coaches to support the educational process.

The school will actively seek the knowledge it needs to work effectively with a diverse parent and Learning Coaches community.

Parents & Learning Coaches Working with School: What We Expect of You

Parents and Learning Coaches will recognize that effective partnerships are characterized by clearly defined responsibilities, a shared commitment to collaboration, open lines of communication, mutual respect, and a positive and common vision of the goals to be reached. To this end our expectation is that:

Parents will read and respond to all Kmails or phone calls that accompany a “PLEASE RESPOND” in the subject line within 24 to 48 hours.

In selecting a virtual school, parents and Learning Coaches will seek an optimal match for the needs of the student, their own expectations, and the philosophy and programs of the school.

Parents and Learning Coaches will be familiar with and support the school's policies and procedures.

Parents and Learning Coaches will provide a home environment that supports the development of positive learning attitudes and habits.

Parents and Learning Coaches will involve themselves in the life of the school.

Parents and learning coaches will seek and value the school's perspective on the student.

When concerns arise, parents and Learning Coaches will seek information directly from the school, consulting with those best able to address the concerns.

Parents and schools work together to create and sustain effective partnerships. Failure to comply with the Best Practices of parents working with schools jeopardizes the effectiveness of the program and the learning experience for the student. If the school cannot ensure clear and responsive communication with the parents and students in these three areas: Truancy, Participation, and Communication, the student may be in jeopardy of being withdrawn from the program.

Attendance and Instructional Time

Massachusetts law requires 180 days of school attendance per year. MAVA requires 900 hours of instructional time in grades K-8 and 990 in grades 9-12. Homeroom teachers and advisors will check student attendance daily.

Hours of Instructional Time

Table Showing Hours of Instructional Time
Grade Level Yearly Hours Weekly Hours Daily Hours

K-8

900

25

5

9-12

990

27.5

5.5

 

 

 

 

Attendance

As a public Commonwealth virtual school, MAVA is required to monitor student attendance in accordance with all applicable statutes. MAVA teachers and administrators monitor student attendance regularly.

Excused Absences

Upon written request from a parent or guardian, the school may excuse a student’s absence from school for the following reasons (with appropriate documentation, as determined by the school):

* Student illness;

* A serious illness or death in a student’s immediate family;

* A court order or an order by a governmental agency, including pre-induction physical examinations for service in the armed forces, mandating absence from school;

* Religious holidays (with 24 hour advanced notice);

* Educational tour/trip (with 24 hour advanced notice);

* A student whose parent or legal guardian is in military service in the armed forces of the United States or the National Guard, and such parent or legal guardian has been called to duty for or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting, shall be granted excused absences, up to a maximum of five school days per school year, for the day or days missed from school to visit with his or her parent or legal guardian prior to such parent’s or legal guardian’s deployment or during such parent’s or legal guardian’s leave.

Process for Attendance Monitoring

MAVA has guidelines to calculate and report both attendance and instructional time requirements, applying the statewide standards to a virtual environment. Our goals are to have students engaged and achieving, with both daily structure and flexibility, in order to maximize student success.

* All students must log into the Online School (OLS) by 12:00 p.m. noon to be considered in attendance for the school day. If a student has not logged in by noon will be considered absent. Students who have extenuating circumstances (i.e. medical appointments, performance obligations) that prohibit them from logging on at noon will be handled on a case by case basis

* Students are required to follow the school calendar, which includes a minimum of 180 school days. Instructional time can be entered on any day (e.g., weekends, holidays, etc.).

* Students are expected to log into the OLS (online school) each scheduled school academic calendar day. If attendance is not recorded on a school day as listed on the school academic calendar, the student is marked as having missing attendance. For instance, if the school calendar indicates Monday through Friday in a given week as “School Days,” attendance must be entered on each day to not result in absences being recorded.

* If students are unable to log onto the online school, the homeroom teacher must be notified as to the reason for the student’s absence via Kmail.

* Switching of school holidays is permitted with prior Family Engagement Coordinator approval noted in Kmail.

* Families should prepare a contingency plan if they experience technological difficulties accessing the program.

MAVA uses the 180-day school academic calendar. Students are expected to complete their schooling on this calendar cycle, attending regularly throughout the 180-day/10-month school year. Students may also attend school weekends, holidays and vacations and should plan to pace themselves, attending school an average of twenty (20) days per month, five (5) hours per day (5.5) hours for High School. Pacing will help students easily meet these requirements.

MAVA is much more than our curriculum. Monthly outings, ClassConnect classes, Literacy and Math supplemental programs, end of the year assessments all combine for a rich educational experience. Completion of the curriculum not does negate the student’s responsibility for school attendance and participation of the school’s academic calendar. The school’s academic calendar takes precedence when determining student attendance.

Vacation and Approved Travel

To prevent unexcused absences, families who wish to take approved travel must request permission to be excused via Kmail at least one week prior to departure. The Family Engagement Coordinator must approve absences in excess of three school days. The Learning Coach and student are responsible for making arrangements with teachers to complete work missed during any absence. Travel will not be approved during state testing windows except for family emergencies and will result in unexcused absences.

Families wishing to substitute school vacation weeks listed on the academic calendar must inform their Family Engagement Coordinator at least one week prior of the vacation date so as not to be given an unexcused absence.

Class Connect Conduct for Parents and Students

* Always sign in using your first name and last initial.

* Arrive promptly at the scheduled time for the Class Connect session.

* ALL students must use their microphone unless medical evidence is submitted detailing the reason why the student is unable to participate. Whiteboard and microphone privileges will be assigned at the discretion of the teacher.

* Direct messaging conversations should be limited to the content of the lesson.

* Respectful and courteous behavior towards others is expected at all times.

* Non-participation or stepping away without the teacher’s approval will be seen as an absence from the session.

* If there are multiple students in your home, each student needs to log in to a session individually.

* Students and parents are expected to follow the etiquette previously described.

* Students will not be allowed to cause disruptions to learning during class connect sessions including use of inappropriate language, posting pictures or images to whiteboard, disrespect of teachers or other students. (If a student is causing disruption to learning he/she will be removed from class connect session and parents contacted).

Please keep in mind that individual teachers may have additional expectations that are specific to their classrooms.

Student Pacing in the Curriculum

It is crucial for the academic development of the student to follow the daily plan and taking the appropriate time to complete assignments. Lessons are designed to be approximately 45 minutes in length and students should complete 5 lessons per day. Lessons are designed to give students the necessary information they need to develop a strong academic knowledge base. Assessing through lessons so that the student can reach the schools promotional requirement for completion of the curriculum is not in the best interest of the student and is not allowed. Conversely completing only a few lessons per day will cause the student to become truant. Parent and students should reach out to their Family Engagement Coordinators and teachers to help schedule a structured day that is in the best learning style for the student.

Students are drawn to the subjects that interests them and will spend more time in those subjects. Learning Coaches should make sure that student pace themselves appropriately through the curriculum, should follow the student’s daily lesson plan and reach out to their teachers for pacing strategies. The school also provides many opportunities and programs for students to continue to explore their passion in a subject. Teachers will recommend students to the Student Intervention Team to provide teachers, Learning Coaches and student with a variety of standards based resources if a the team finds a student is struggling or accelerating through the curriculum.