The end of the school year is fast approaching. For many virtual schooled students, this is an opportunity to slack off a little. State testing is over; most of their courses are completed; and new subjects typically can not be ordered at this juncture. Students have the ability and the privilege to relax, sit back, and let the summer begin a little bit early even as they’re still completing “schoolwork.” They may be watching educational movies during their school hours. They may be going on “field trips” with their parents. Whatever the case, the serious grind is over…for many. Maybe even for most.
But not for all.
For some students, the end of the school year brings on a blind panic. Suddenly, they go from having all the time in the world to get their schoolwork done to dashing blindly through the material in a desperate attempt to get “enough” of it finished.
Their grades are low. Their progress is lower. And they’re running scared.
Of course, a learning coach who is completely on top of things would have figured this out early. Most would have caught it and encouraged the student in question to catch up before it’s too late. But sometimes, life happens. Students are left to their own devices and trusted for just a little bit too long, or the learning coach loses track of how many assignments really haven’t been put in the computer yet. Whatever the case, suddenly, the end of the year is catching them, too. Luckily, the school year isn’t over yet, and there’s still plenty of time to do some catching up—if both student and learning coach are wise and willing to put in a little bit of extra work.
Art and music aren’t necessary in order to pass.
Teachers will encourage students and learning coaches to complete these subjects. They prefer that they be finished. However, they do not affect a child’s ability to continue on to the next grade level.
Progress is expected to be at eighty percent by the end of the school year.
If your bars look more like the ones displayed here, well, that’s not the end of the world. Sure, a hundred percent completion is preferred. Sure, teachers want kids to “get” as much of the material is possible—but if they can just reach that eighty percent mark, they’ll be good to go.
Students can work through the summer.
Just because the “end of school” date is listed as late May doesn’t necessarily mean this is when a given student will be done. If they plan to continue with the Tennessee Virtual Academy, they don’t even “have” to be done when the next school year begins—but they do have to complete the material in order to move on to the next grade. This “you can work during the summer” incentive may be a relief for a child who is struggling—or may be a potent threat to convince a child with little motivation to get a move on.
It is important to know why lessons were skipped.
. Lessons which have been skipped will be marked by a lighter color on the progress bar. This does not count toward total completion except in instances where the teacher (or the entire grade level) has marked the lessons skipped. For example, in both science and history for many grade levels, students were expected to complete only about half of the topics originally included in the curriculum, and teachers went through and marked the lessons as skipped so that students would know which units they didn’t have to complete. These need not be counted toward progress that has not been completed. However, if a student has deliberately skipped a lesson (or their learning coach has skipped it for them), it will not be counted toward total progress.
Unmastered lessons count against progress.
If your child was struggling with a particular lesson within one subject, you may have allowed them to go forward without completing that lesson. Unfortunately, the unmastered lesson (shown here in a medium shade of blue) will prevent children from attaining the highest level of progress. Going back and completing this lesson—and mastering it—may do more for them than moving on to the next unit.