Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
We have just completed the first semester of the second year utilizing K12 curriculum with California Virtual Academy. We have new General Education and Special Education teachers this year.
Each month both teachers and I have a conference call to go over the IEP goals. The Special Education Teacher has scheduled these calls through the end of the school year. There is even a date and time for the IEP in February 2009. This year seems to be more organized. At the end of each semester is a face to face meeting, known online as F2F. This is either at a public location like library or at the family home. It all depends on location since teachers have a wide area and broad range of grades they cover.
At the meeting the student will do a math test, reading to check vocabulary and reading level plus a writing sample to check for comprehension, style and penmanship. The Physical Education Log is submitted for the quarter with totals added for each week. This form is signed by teacher, student and parent. It is imperative to have documents signed in the legal name of the student. My son Nicholas has to write Richard on all his submitted work samples.
Each subject has a teacher and student guide. The student and parent choose from a list for the Literature offerings for the school year. Nicholas read White Fang and The Hobbit. For the books the family does need to print out the student guides for each lesson on these books. Language Arts is comprised of Composition, Vocabulary, GUM and Literature. GUM stands for Grammar, Usage and Mechanics.
The other subjects are Science, Art, History and Math. Art and Music were electives last year that we opted out of. This is the first year that students must take both courses. For Middle School students there is the option to choose Foreign Language instead of Music, which is what we did. This is through another company called Power Speak.
There is also a state assessment program called Study Island that has games and testing for Language Arts and Math. This is specifically to help prepare for the State Testing done each May. The Middle School my son Matthew attends also purchased this program.
This year students had to complete a Scantron Assessment in Math and Language Arts. The teacher went over the results with each family invidually using Elluminate, which is a real-time online learning experience. Based on Nicholas's assessment responses his teacher is tutoring him in Math each Tuesday for about 20 minutes to work on adding fractions on Elluminate.
The Scantron suggested learning objectives for Mathematics that were broken into several sub categories - Algebra, Data Analysis & Probability, Geometry, Measurements and Numbers and Operations. Language Arts categories consisted of reading fiction, reading long passage, reading non fiction and reading vocabulary. Most of these noted that my son has successfully attained the learning objectives.
The test results from sixth grade had him five points below advanced in English Language Arts and he just made proficient by a few points in Mathematics. I believe with the addition of the tutoring his math score will be higher. Back in fourth grade his math was in the advanced level.
The Special Education Teacher sent me some links to sites after out last conference. These include Fraction Games, Fraction Frenzy, Visual Fractions and Fraction Lessons.
At the first meeting of the school year the Teacher has a folder for each family. There are labels on the inside that list the week for face to face meetings, school holidays, testing dates and the work sample checklist. My son is in the habit of filling out all the details for his school work. This means five lines at the top right corner of the paper.
The information is the legal name of student, date, subject, unit and lesson number along with the name of the lesson. The pages from the student guide have most of the information already printed. The work samples are to reflect work done, which would be from their notebooks. These pages need to be graded.
We have a system where there is a hanging folder for each subject along with a file folder. There is a large accordion file for all work completed. When a lesson is finished it gets graded and placed in completed file. A week or two before the semester ends we go through the files to find suitable work samples. We correct the name to his legal name, and place all samples in a folder marked Samples. I fill out the PE Log and we both sign it.
The teacher also gives families a colored chart to mark off assignments. This shows the student and parent how many more lessons are to be completed before the end of the semester. The online school also has a bubble to click on to check progress and shows the percentage done, plus there is a button to click on to view the estimated date to finish the entire subject.
These visuals are very helpful to my son and it encourages him to move along in his studies. For report cards the teacher has a list of comments that the parent can check they want added to the report card under parent comments. It could be on math, reading, studying habits, etc. There is also a work sample rubric sheet that covers the point scale from 1-4 with keywords for parent, kids and little ones to comprehend. A 4 means exceeds standards, exemplary, WOW! and =).
My son likes to start his school day after his brother has left with his bus and aide, a little after 7:00 AM. Each day has a different schedule, with the subjects Math and History covered every day. Composition, Vocabulary and Art are one or two days a week with GUM and Literature almost daily.
The second semester starts the Science Fair. There are many events that families can take part in, like field trips, community day, comeptitions and writing a newsletter.
There are 15 states that use K12
I asked about the Individual Transition Plan known as the ITP. Federal Law states this to be done by the 16th birthday, which is how CAVA does it. However, LAUSD has this at age 14. Nicholas will be 14 when he goes into ninth grade and hopefully the Los Angeles Zoo High School Magnet.
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