Frequently Asked Questions About the Bexley e-Learning Academy

What is e-Learning? What is the difference between the distance learning plan and the hybrid learning plan? 
The Bexley e-Learning Academy is designed to accommodate families for whom extenuating health circumstances would make returning to in-person learning medically dangerous. Every year we have students who have to access their content differently due to health reasons.  We have always used third-party vendors to deliver content to students who cannot attend school in person. With COVID, we recognize that more families may have medical circumstances that necessitate e-Learning; therefore, we have shared this option with all families to review. This option is not intended to be an equivalent replacement for in-person instruction by a Bexley teacher. Further, our small size and extensive course offerings significantly limit our ability to assign staff to meet the demands of in-person learning and e-learning simultaneously. E-Learning will be self-paced learning through SchoolsPLP with a Bexley staff member serving as a case manager to a group of students (likely across grade levels and courses); the case manager will monitor student engagement in the SchoolsPLP environment.

In distance learning, all students will receive their instruction remotely from their teachers.  Teachers will teach remotely five days a week using live and recorded online lessons through Canvas (6-12) or Google Classroom (K-5) for instructional delivery.

In hybrid learning, students will attend two days a week by group A and B.  Teachers will be in their classrooms with students four days a week teaching in person.  About half of our students (A Group) will attend in person two days a week for instruction with their teachers while the other half of students (B Group) are at home applying or extending the learning that occurred on in-person days with the teacher. The “at home” days will not include live/virtual instruction from the teacher because the teacher will be teaching in-person four days a week. Wednesdays, all students will learn remotely (to allow buildings to be sanitized). On Wednesdays, teachers will be supporting individual and small groups of students virtually, providing additional resources, intervention or extensions as needed.  As stated in the Back to School Plan approved by the Board of Education on August 4, posted online and sent to families in the district’s weekly email on August 6,  “Shifting to a hybrid learning plan will be determined in partnership with Franklin County Public Health and will consider local data including county alert level, case rates, positivity rates, and trend data.”

We do not know if we want to register our child for the e-Learning Academy now.  Can we decide when the district returns to hybrid? 
Families need to register for the e-learning academy by August 20.  This commitment is needed for planning purposes and to ensure continuity of instruction for students.  Student seats are purchased through a contract with the SchoolsPLP vendor.  In order to have staff trained to use the platform and have the classes set up and ready for students when they are needed, we must finalize our contract with them now.

How does my child’s enrollment change if we register for e-Learning?
Students who are enrolled in e-learning remain registered with Bexley City Schools.  But, in order to provide accurate reporting to the state, students will be withdrawn from their currently assigned teacher and classes and enrolled in the e-learning classes with the Bexley staff case manager when the transition to e-learning occurs.  As such, they will no longer be on their teacher’s class roster. If at semester break, you wish to have your child return to school, they will be reassigned to a teacher to resume live classes.

Instead of registering for e-learning, can we withdraw our student when the district moves to hybrid instruction and then re-enroll if the district returns to distance learning at some point?
Yes.  If you wish to withdraw your student from Bexley City Schools when we move to a hybrid model, you may do so by contacting your child’s school.  Upon withdrawal, you will need to either provide evidence of enrollment at another school or submit paperwork to the district to request the homeschool option following the Ohio Department of Education requirements.

Why was SchoolsPLP selected? 
Over the course of the summer, district leaders in the Department of Staff and Student Learning reviewed many platforms as potential e-learning providers.  We started our search based on information provided by the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and collaborated with other districts in the area.  First and foremost, we searched for platforms that offer a wide array of courses that are aligned to state content standards, which is the curriculum model that drives Bexley courses.  We also considered other factors, such as flexibility with enrollment times, variety of content, and price.  SchoolsPLP utilizes content from multiple course designers within a single platform and provides a broad course catalog for the full K-12 spectrum.  They also allow us to start students at the beginning of the year or partway into the quarter, and we are able to bring students out or add more students in at the semester break, as needed.  Finally, SchoolsPLP is more cost-effective than many of the other options, thus allowing us to be more fiscally responsible.  SchoolsPLP is also being implemented by New Albany Plain Local School District.

What if a course our student is scheduled to take is not offered by SchoolsPLP?
While the SchoolsPLP platform has a very broad course catalog, there are some Bexley secondary courses that are not available at this time.  We are currently finalizing other arrangements to provide courses not available in SchoolsPLP.  This may include offering the course through another vendor or trying to secure a teacher who is able to take on a sixth-course assignment to teach the course. Students may also opt to take the course during the second semester using College Credit Plus or pursue an independent study for credit using the Credit Flex process. If arrangements for an alternative is not possible for a course your student would like to take, he or she will not be able to take the course this year.  For students who are juniors and younger, they can try to schedule that course for the next school year and will need to select an alternative this year.   

Can my student take a course offered by SchoolsPLP that Bexley does not offer?
Yes. Your student can take any grade appropriate course that is in the SchoolsPLP catalog.  If it is a Career Tech (CTE) course, there is a $75 surcharge with SchoolsPLP.  Families will need to pay that fee to the district.  **Note: Course options may be limited for students who enroll after August 20.  Some courses require specialized staffing that cannot be accommodated after the school year begins.

If my student takes a different course online and returns to school at the semester, how will they finish the course?
If Bexley does not offer the course, the student will not be able to continue. They will receive a ½ credit for the course on the high school transcript. Typically, this situation would only occur if students opt to take an additional course or elective beyond their typical schedule. If the course was instead of a regularly scheduled course, students will be enrolled in a semester elective or study hall upon return. Courses that are offered for the year will be available in the second semester if the student does not return to in-person learning for semester 2, and therefore, remains enrolled in the e-Learning Academy.

Can my student take courses beyond their grade level?
In order to take courses outside the grade level, a student must go through the formal acceleration process. This process includes advertised deadlines by which to apply.  See our website for information. Students who have already been formally accelerated will be enrolled in the appropriate course based on that acceleration.  Students in the math 6/7 or math 7/8 courses will have an e-learning math course that teaches the same standards taught in the in-person counterparts.

If my child is enrolled in the Bexley e-Learning Academy, how will they participate in district and state testing?
Ohio law and regulations require a variety of assessments to be administered to students across all grade levels.  As a district, we are legally obligated to conduct such testing.  Most testing programs require students to be tested in person on the school campus.  This includes all state testing for all grade levels, fall gifted cognitive testing, MAP, and fall PSAT and ACT testing for high schoolers.  The district is bound by test administration protocols established by the test publisher and cannot deviate from those requirements in any way.  Students in the e-learning Academy are encouraged to participate in state and district testing programs and will be provided information with time and location to do so.  If a student is not able to participate in testing due to a medical reason, please contact your building principal or the Coordinator of Curriculum and Gifted.  (Remote MAP testing immediately after the close of each main MAP testing window may be offered to acquire basic information if circumstances allow. Results of such testing will not yield typical MAP growth scores or subscores by area within a subject but may provide a basic indication of student achievement.  Availability of remote testing will be limited to e-Learning families and only if we have staff availability to conduct the testing in accordance with publisher guidelines.)

If my child is enrolled in the Bexley e-Learning Academy, can they participate in extracurricular activities?
Yes. Your student can participate in afterschool extracurricular activities. However, this does not include co-curricular activities, such as elementary choir or long-term class projects, led during the school day, as those activities will not have a virtual counterpart available.  Performance programs based on in-school courses for band, choir, and orchestra are not possible at this time.  For students who wish to participate in high school marching band, choir, orchestra, or other courses that include extracurricular activities based on courses during the day, they should create a Credit Flex plan for independent study to earn credit for the course portion and then may participate in the afterschool practices as scheduled.  Please contact the activity coach, leader, or advisor for more information.  E-learning students may also participate in the fall theater programs led by Ms. Becky Rhinehart, which will occur virtually.  Programs will include a 4-5 play, middle school play, two high school plays, and a high school improv event.  Information about auditions for theater events can be found here.  Information about crew interviews for theater events can be found here.

Will students in the e-Learning Academy still have access to special education, English learner, and gifted services?
Students with disabilities can have many of their accommodations embedded into the courses in accordance with their IEP or 504 plans. Intervention specialists and related service providers will be assigned to students participating in the Bexley e-Learning Academy and will provide specially designed instruction and related services according to the student's individual education plan (IEP). IEP teams will convene, as appropriate, to determine how a student's IEP may need to be amended in light of an online learning environment. English Language Coordinator will monitor the access and progress of students and will connect the family with English resources as appropriate. Students will participate in English Language assessments as required. Students who are gifted and have a Written Education Plan for the elementary Cog ELA course will continue to be supported by a district Gifted Intervention Specialist.

Does my e-learning student have to complete the art, music, and/or PE courses in SchoolsPLP?
Our goal is to provide a well-rounded curriculum to our students, including e-learners.  We believe allied arts contribute to meeting that goal.  However, we realize that our current pandemic situation and the demands of e-learning may require some to have a more narrow focus on those core academic subject areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, and health.  All K-8 students will be enrolled in their electives courses and expected to participate and complete the course lessons and assessments. If a parent or guardian wants to have their K-8 child's second semester courses be limited to the course subject areas and drop the allied arts courses, the parent should notify Colleen Boyle of that request via email after they have completed the second semester e-learning enrollment form (see link in building newsletters). The second semester schedule will be revised with those courses dropped starting on January 5. Students should continue to progress through their courses at the indicated pace through the end of this quarter on December 18.  Parents/guardians who request to have such courses dropped from their student's schedule will assume responsibility for providing their child with related experiences of their choosing.  Note: Students in grades 9-12 may only drop an elective if is is not needed to meet a graduation requirement.  Course required for graduation must be completed as scheduled.

How will students in the Bexley e-Learning Academy maintain connections with teachers and classmates?  Can they participate in live sessions with their original teacher or classmates or access assignments posted in Google Classroom/Canvas?
When the district moves to a hybrid or an all-in model of learning, live sessions will no longer occur since our Bexley teachers and students will be meeting face to face in classrooms.  Additionally, students in e-learning will no longer be enrolled in their previous teacher’s classes due to state reporting, so students will not have access to those Google Classrooms or Canvas settings.  The e-learning platform is designed to be an independent, self-paced learning experience.  However, we realize the importance of human connection.  So, the case managers assigned to monitor student participation and progress will hold weekly office hours for students to arrange for video check-ins. Additionally, those case managers will host weekly live sessions for the students in their group to interact with peers and engage in team-building and social-emotional activities.

Will moving to e-Learning midway through the quarter create learning gaps or transition challenges for students?
The goal is to limit the number of transitions students will need to make. That is part of the reason why families need to make a commitment for a full semester when registering for e-learning. To help smooth the initial transition to e-learning, case managers will adjust the assigned lessons in the e-learning course to reflect the initial instruction students received at the start of the year from their Bexley teachers. The SchoolsPLP platform allows for students to test out of lessons if students have already been taught the content prior to entering the Bexley e-Learning Academy. 

If the district returns to full virtual learning mid-semester, can my student return to classes taught by the Bexley teachers?
Yes, students may return to instruction with Bexley teachers at the beginning of the new semester (January 5) and remain with Bexley teachers for the duration of the spring semester. The student will need to fulfill the commitment made to stay in e-learning through the end of the first semester. This is to ensure there is continuity in the content instruction and to avoid any learning gaps that may arise if the student were to go back and forth between settings.

We are partway through the semester and would like to make a change in our child's learning environment.  Can we do so?
We realize this is an uncertain and difficult time for all of our families.  For that reason, we are allowing families to make ONE change in placement after the August 20 deadline during the first semester.  If you enrolled your student in e-learning by the August 20 deadline and would like to have your child return to school, we will work with the building to accommodate that.  If you did not enroll in e-learning by the August 20 deadline and would now like to enroll, we will accommodate once.  Please know there are challenges when enrolling in e-learning at this time.  Courses are full courses and will include assignments for content for the entire year, even if the student already learned that content while in school up until this point.  It will be up to the family and student to determine if learning tasks can be viewed quickly before taking related assessments and moving on. Additionally, several secondary grade electives and Advanced Placement courses are not available for students who enroll after the August 20 deadline, as we are not able to arrange for the required staffing at this time.  It is also important for families of students in all grades to keep in mind that the nature of staff interactions in e-learning is very different from those in the hybrid model. Finally, transitions can be difficult at any time, especially during our current pandemic, and our students have had many transitions in recent months.  Unless your family has a diagnosed medical concern requiring e-learning, we strongly encourage families to maintain their current in school placement.  If you have already made a change in status after August 20, the next opportunity to change will be at the semester break.  

During second semester, students who have never been enrolled in e-learning but choose to do so after the semester enrollment deadline may make ONE change in placement to e-learning during the semester.  Students who have always been enrolled in e-learning may make ONE change in placement to on site learning during the semester.  In order to provide some stability for students academically and socially, students will not be allowed to make multiple transitions between onsite/remote placement and e-learning.