• Virtual Scholars Academy 2022-2023 FAQ

     *Updated April 26, 2022


    The Virtual Scholars Academy (VSA) will be available to all students in grades K-12 with full course offerings to include special education services and collaborative classes next school year.

    Students interested in participating in the Virtual Scholars Academy must apply and be accepted into the program each school year; therefore, current VSA students must reapply. Your application will be evaluated before acceptance into the Virtual Scholars Academy Program occurs.

    Students who are accepted into the program remain enrolled at their zoned school and can participate in all school sponsored sports, clubs, and activities.

    1. If a child is currently enrolled in VSA, do they have to reapply for next year?
      Yes, current students must reapply for the next school year.

    2. How much time will I spend working on an online class?
      Students should expect to spend the same amount of time completing work for an online class as they would a traditional class. For most students this means about 90 minutes a day for each course. Some students may work faster while others may need more time. The student schedules will be determined and posted by the Virtual Scholars Academy administration.  There will be synchronous (Zoom sessions) instruction daily for scholars in grade K-5. There will be asynchronous (Canvas modules) instruction at the student’s pace for scholars in grades 6-12 as well as synchronous (Zoom sessions) instruction through Virtual Virginia’s Select enrollment synchronous program.

    3. Can I take an online course as an extra class?
      High school students can take a maximum of eight classes in a regular school year. This includes VSA courses which must be taken as part of a student’s normal course load.

    4. Can I complete VSA courses from home?
      Students can work from home or school. Part-time VSA students who wish to work from home may need to provide their own transportation to or from school.

    5. Are there any additional costs assessed to parents/guardians?
      All NPS enrolled students will have no costs associated with attending VSA and/or VVA.

    6. What is Virtual Virginia?
      VVA is a program of the Virginia Department of Education, Virtual Virginia (VVA) that offers online core academic, Advanced Placement (AP), world language, and elective courses to students throughout the Commonwealth and nation. More information about Virtual Virginia can be found here: https://www.virtualvirginia.org/.

    7. How isthe Virtual Scholars Academy different from Virtual Virginia?
      All VSA K- 5 elementary teachers are Norfolk Public Schools employees and follow the same district curriculum as students in on campus courses. All secondary students enrolled in VSA are Norfolk Public Schools students but will be instructed by Virtual Virginia teachers. A listing of available courses can be found on the VVA website under K-12 Instruction, Grades 6-12: https://www.virtualvirginia.org/6-12/#courses

    8. What is the difference between Virtual Scholars Academy (VSA) this year and VSA for next school year?
      There will be no difference in classes or curriculum as VSA K-5 students next school year. Secondary students will be instructed by Virtual Virginia teachers. Students must apply and be accepted into the Virtual Scholars Academy for the 2022-2023 school year.

    9. Will VVA have the same course options as NPS?
      VVA has a broad selection of course offerings but does not have the same classes as NPS. NPS students will meet with their school counselors to select the proper combination of VVA courses needed to move to the next level. Students may need to make other selections in elective areas. Students will be able to take general education courses in English, math, science, history and social studies, world languages, art, music, physical education and computer science. Students are also able to take a variety of Advanced Placement Courses. A listing of available courses can be found on the VVA website under K-12 Instruction: https://www.virtualvirginia.org/

    10. Are electives required?
      Yes, Students will take electives through Virtual Virginia or VSA through NPS teachers in K-5.

    11. What supports are in place to assist students?
      All VSA teachers will host Online Learning Support Labs weekly to meet with students who may need additional assistance. Teachers will not deliver formal lessons in these sessions but will be available to assist students who need it through small group and individual instruction. Students may attend on campus tutoring sessions at their zoned school’s academic remediation program as well.

    12. Who will be monitoring pacing and alignment?
      The administration working with the department of curriculum will be monitoring pacing and alignment.  The teachers and students in VSA are still tied to Norfolk Public Schools and will use all the resources the division has.

    13. What are the VSA teachers’ working hours? Is there a difference between their support and working hours?
      Teachers are still working for 7.33 hours per day. They will have support hours and will have consistent schedules.  The administration will be responsible for making these online school schedules and they will be advertised when complete.

    14. What will VSA Teacher lesson plans look like?
      Much of the curriculum and pacing for NPS will be found in the Canvas platform.  Lesson plans will come from that. VSA teachers will continue to use the NPS lesson plan template unless modifications need to be made.

    15. What will VSA grading look like?
      VSA grading will look the same as the grading in the home school. Grades will be taken in the Canvas LMS and synced with Synergy. VSA teachers, just like face-to-face teachers, will be responsible for providing their students with explicit feedback.

    16. How do students complete NPS assessments and Virginia State assessments?
      State testing parameters will be determined by the VDOE.  Many NPS classroom assessments will be taken directly in Canvas.  Some testing may be done at a remote site following CDC and VDOE guidelines and procedures.

    17. How will VSA teachers determine attendance for VSA?
      Attendance will be determined during synchronous Zoom sessions and through the asynchronous Canvas platform that records when students log in and how long they work on modules.

    18. Does virtual mean that my student is provided the work and expected to work at his/her own pace, or will there be student/teacher interaction?
      There will be synchronous (live) lessons (Zoom) and asynchronous lessons (Canvas) daily.  The asynchronous lessons will be at your child’s pace. 

    19. Are live, synchronous sessions recorded?
      Since attendance at synchronous sessions is required, they will not be recorded.

    20. If a parent needs to cancel the student’s application, what should they do?
      Please email The Virtual Scholars Academy at VSA@nps.k12.va.us and the student’s application can be removed.

    21. Who is this program for and if my child has an IEP can they still enroll?
      This program is for all grades K-12 NPS students.  Applications for students with disabilities served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) will be reviewed for acceptance and enrollment following the recommendation of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. Student IEP teams will need to convene prior to acceptance into VSA for any students with disabilities to determine if the student’s special education services and/or accommodations can be provided in VSA in order for the student to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

    22. Are EL and gifted services available to VSA students?
      EL and gifted services will be provided to VSA students.

    23. If I enroll my kids in VSA does that mean I have to stick with it the entire school year?
      We are asking for a year-long commitment.  Students enrolling in Virtual Scholars Academy Program full-time program for the 2022-2023 school year understand that a transfer back to in-person learning at their home school will not provide them with their same teacher from the Virtual Scholars Academy Program.

    24. Do VSA students ever have to report to campus?
      Students must be on campus at their zoned school to complete standardized assessments mandated by Norfolk Public Schools and the Virginia Department of Education.

    25. If VSA is chosen and I have multiple kids, do I have to choose VSA for all children or can 1 do VSA and the other not?
      No, VSA can be for any student in the household. This is a parent/guardian decision.

    26. Will I be able to participate in a graduation ceremony if I attend Virtual Scholars Academy?
      NPS students remain connected to their home school and can participate in all school sponsored sports, clubs, and activities. Students will continue to work with their home school counselor and will receive a diploma from their home school upon graduation.

    27. How will information be distributed to families of virtual students about school system happenings?
      VSA families will continue to be in the NPS alert system and will receive all division wide communications.

    28. Where can I get technical support?
      Through the NPS Help Desk at help@nps.k12.va.us