Distance Learning

Thank you for your participation in our new instructional platform and for the valuable feedback you have given us.  As a classical school, our Distance Learning program remains focused on equipping our students for a life lived well.  As such, it comprises the elements of our traditional, in-person programs, including books, workbooks, cursive, writing assignments, and character lessons.  While much of this is delivered electronically, our mission remains to help guide students in development of their character and academic potential, and we continue to do this with academically rigorous, content-rich educational programs. 

The following information is designed to support the needs of our families, both distance and in-person, as we work together to understand a new and exciting technological platform while continuing to deliver the classical education we have always strived to provide.    

Parent Role

– Establish a daily routine for learning
– Help your child choose a comfortable, quiet, space for learning
– Help your child pay attention to timelines and due dates
– Communicate proactively with teachers if your child needs additional support

Student Role

– Sign into “teams” daily – stay connected
– Complete assignments on time and with academic integrity
– Seek help from your teachers when needed

K-6 Distance Learning Overview

We are using Microsoft Teams as our delivery platform for distance learning, as it incorporates fundamental components and features for successful teaching.  Please see details below:

Instruction:

Instructional videos average about 30 minutes in length are provided daily in the following subjects:

– Reading (K-3)
– Writing (1-3)
– Math (K-6)
– History (K-6)
– Science (K-6)
– Literature (4-6)
– Language Arts (4-6)
– Latin (4-6)

Other subjects, like poetry, character, and cursive, will be captured in short video tutorials and provided in the student’s Homeroom Team.

Curriculum:

Through the Class Notebook in Microsoft Teams, teachers will:

– Provide “virtual” class notebooks for students where there are assignments are distributed, graded, and stored for review later.
– Post assignments and provide feedback.
– Provide virtual structure utilizing a system closely resembling the Vanguard class folders and binders our students are familiar with.

Teacher Feedback:

Students benefit from timely feedback from their teachers, and we have made this a focus with this program.  Teachers are:

– Setting up live, virtual office hours and tutorial sessions for both students as parents to ask questions and check-in on their students.
– Emailing students and families on a regular basis to check-in on progress and stay connected.

Instructional Recording and Video Release:

As teachers are serving all students simultaneously, we have set up a schedule for instruction recording.  The schedule is:

– Designed to have a gradual release of classroom instructional videos throughout the day according to when actual classes are conducted
– Frontloaded with many of the core classes to allow the earliest possible recording and posting time.

The assignment submission time for distance learners has been standardized to be at 11:59 P.M. the day the assignment is due.

– For example, if an assignment is assigned at 11:00 A.M. on Monday with a due date of Tuesday, distance learning students have until Tuesday at 11:59 P.M. to turn it in.
– For multi-day assignments, the due date is the assigned due date, with 11:59 P.M. as the ultimate deadline for submission.
An exception to the 11:59 P.M. submission time may occur for some assessments as there may be specified time within which to complete the assessment with a corresponding start and end time. In these cases, the requirement will be communicated well in advance.

Teams for Students

Our intent is to provide an instructional experience for our distance learners that captures the core elements of an in-person learning experience while at the same time being sensitive to the amount of screen time required and the different circumstances our families could be encountering.  Our academic subjects are organized in teams to be intuitive to our students, academically rigorous, and navigable by elementary users.

Student Teams

– Each student belongs to Teams that represent an integrated class of distance and in-person learners.
– The instructional components of each class are recorded, and the resulting video is uploaded as an assignment along with worksheets and other resources the students may need.
– All material is provided in multiple ways to meet the needs of all learners.

Distance learners:

– Online links to worksheets in the Teams assignment for online completion
– Paper copies of worksheets in advance to submit electronically by scanning or taking a photograph
– Tests will be provided to distance learners as “assignments” that are proctored by parents and submitted in the same fashion as other assignments.
– Students will be able to record their reading and submit the audio clip for reading fluency tests.

In-person learners:

– In-class handouts for in-person learners that should be submitted in-person to their teachers on the due date.
– Tests administered in class.

Orientation Videos

If you have not already, please take the time to watch these instructional videos that were presented at our Student Orientation sessions.

Teams for Elementary Students and Families
Using Class Notebook to Work Through Assignments
Submitting, Checking Grades, and Other Resources
Submitting Checkouts Using Audio Recordings
Elementary DL Student Assignment Upload Tutorial

7-12 Distance Learning Overview

Students at the secondary level will have a separate team for each of the classes in which they are enrolled, to include any electives they are taking, including any of the optional electives they have requested.

Teachers will record their live teaching sessions and post these to the Teams throughout the day.  Students can use the below Distance Learning Resources Schedule as a reference to see when they can anticipate a video and assignment to be posted.

Junior High Distance Learning Resources Schedule
High School Distance Learning Resources Schedule

Interactive tutorial sessions and office hours will be offered by each teacher to support student questions and concerns.  These opportunities are communicated to students within the Teams platform.

Orientation Videos

If you have not already, please take the time to watch these instructional videos that were presented at our Student Orientation sessions.

Welcome Back Vanguard Secondary
Microsoft Teams for Secondary
Using Your Class Notebooks
Accessing and Submitting Assignments in Teams
Uploading Homework to Teams from Your Phone

Technical Support Overview

We are here to support you as we navigate together through the challenges of our shared academic experience.  We do not intend for due dates and deadlines to place stress and anxiety on our students who are experiencing technical difficulties, and our teachers will extend grace and understanding for missed deadlines due to technological obstacles.  As always, please reach out if you encounter an issue that is not easily solved, and we will put you in contact with the right person.

Additionally, below are some how-to guides for activities students and parents will be performing routinely.

1) How to log in to Office and access web and desktop applications
2) Assignments 101 (not including attachments)
3) Attaching work to an assignment from your desktop or OneDrive
4) Uploading assignments from a mobile device to a file attachment (especially helpful for math)
5) Inserting a photo into the Class Notebook

To effectively participate in our Distance Learning program as well as parts of our hybrid and in-person programs, students will need access to a computer and internet at home.  See below for details regarding supported technology platforms.

Supported Technology

Microsoft Teams can run on any web-enabled device either through the web browser or as a stand-alone application.  Certain devices such as phones and Apple products may require the use of the stand-alone application as Teams is not supported in the browser.  To effectively work on assignments online, we recommend a device with a keyboard, although it is not necessary in all circumstances.

Requesting Laptops for Distance Learners

We are allowing families participating in Distance Learning to check out one laptop during this time. There are a limited number of laptops available, so please only request one if your situation meets one of the following conditions:

1. No computer at home
2. Only computer at home is inoperable/too old for use
3. Computer access is limited by the number of family members using it (e.g. one computer, multiple students, and parent working remotely)

If you would like to officially request a laptop, please fill out this checkout agreement.  If you feel your situation requires more than one laptop, please indicate the reason in the comments section.  We will accommodate requests as we are able in a method that is consistent for all families.

Internet Access at Home

Comcast is currently offering special support for families affected by COVID-19.  Please visit their website for more information.

T-Mobile is offering heavily reduced prices for mobile hotspots and laptops for eligible families.  To register for the program, please visit their website.

FAQ and General Information

1.  I cannot reset my Microsoft password.

For security reasons, there are password complexity requirements.  Please make sure your new password meets the following criteria:

    • Between 8-16 characters in length
    • Contains one of EACH of the following:
      • Uppercase letter
      • Lowercase letter
      • Special character (%,$,*)
    • Does not contain your name or common words like “password” that are easy to guess

2:  How do I access the lesson videos?

Students can access the recorded instructional videos through Teams.  The videos will be included alongside the assignments so everything can be found in one place.  If you are having trouble watching the embedded video, please try clicking the link above the video.


3.  Where do I find my child’s assignments?

Assignments can be accessed through Microsoft Teams. Please view the appropriate orientation videos for instructions.


4.  When are assignments due?

Assignments may be submitted up to 11:59 P.M. on the date they are due.


5.  How do I get help with technology?

Please see the Contact Support section below.


6.  Can’t sign in or access resources through Office.com?

For optimal compatibility, we recommend using the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge web browser.

    • Please try the following the troubleshooting steps:
      • Sign out of all other Microsoft accounts.
      • Clear your browser cache/cookies (you can search how to do this for your specific browser.
      • Restart your computer

7.  How do we track attendance for online students?

It is a state requirement that we track attendance for all students, whether in-person or in a distance learning format.  We use Infinite Campus for this and ask that each student (or parent) mark their attendance each day.  Please note that if a student has already marked attendance, the option will not be available for parents later that same day.


8.  Why can’t we join live classes online?

In order for teachers to teach a live class and simultaneously record a lesson for Distance Learning students, we have restricted the ability for students to join live.  This is necessary because the teacher cannot interact with both sets of students at the same time under our current system.  To alleviate this concern, teachers will offer periodic “office hours” for live interaction with distance learners.


9.  Why can’t students use the chat in Teams?

Per our existing student communication policy, we require students to cc their parents when emailing teachers. To ensure visibility of communication, do not allow conversations in Teams because parents are unable to view those conversations.

Contact Support

We are here to support you as we navigate together through the challenges of our shared academic experience.  We do not intend for due dates and deadlines to place stress and anxiety on our students who are experiencing technical difficulties, and our teachers will extend grace and understanding for missed deadlines due to technological obstacles.  As always, please reach out if you encounter an issue that is not easily solved, and we will put you in contact with the right person.

To ensure you are able to receive the appropriate support in a timely manner, please reference the table below for how to contact support.

Your first point of contact should always be your teacher;  this is the first tier of support.  Your child’s teacher is the content-level expert as well as the person designing and assigning lessons.  Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher at any time via email.

Our second tier of support is your front office personnel, who can answer questions about Office 365, attendance, and account access (including Infinite Campus).  The front office can be reached by phone at 719-471-1999.

Our third tier of support is our IT Team, who has expertise in computer hardware and software and can help solve more complex issues as they occur.  The IT Team is available by referral from teachers or front office staff or through our Help Desk, [email protected].  Please be aware that responses from the IT department may take up to 24 hours.