Hello iPride Virtual Academy Families,

This is our first official email to the parents of our iPride Virtual Academy students. There is a lot of information below and I know there are still many questions. If you are receiving this email and have decided that your child will NOT be part of the iPride Virtual Academy, but rather will start the year in-person, please email me. I apologize for the delay in emailing everyone, but we have been receiving requests and answering questions throughout this process. It is important that as many students as possible start this learning experience at the same time. I have broken down information into different sections below to try and help organize my thoughts.

Start Date:
Our goal is to have students start on September 2, 2020. This is the date that our in-person instruction is also starting.

Chromebooks and Supplies:
Chromebook pickup will be Monday 24, 2020 from 2pm - 7pm outside of the IHS media center (same place where device drop off occured). As for supplies, 6-12 students will not need any supplies for the online courses. KG-5 supplies will be purchased by the district. I am still waiting for the ESC to finalize that process.

How do we use Lincoln Online and Edgenuity?
The ESC has created training sessions for students and families. It is important that parent(s) and students attend the appropriate training to set themselves up for success in the programs.

Lincoln Online Learning is the platform for KG-5 students. The online training session is scheduled for August 28 at 10am.

Edgenuity is the platform for 6-12 students. The online training session is scheduled for August 28 at 11am.

**I will email the links as soon as the ESC makes it live.

What Courses Are Available:
Our School Counselors have been working hard to align as many courses as possible for ours students. Given our districts size, we have always had the unique ability to create elective courses that are not offered anywhere else. For our younger students, this has not impacted their scheduling as much as for our 7-12 students. We are also very aware of NCAA requirements, eligibility issues, and local graduation requirements concerning courses and credits. Our school counselors will begin working with our students in October/November to finalize their in-person schedules for the second semester.

Who is our Teacher?
While the curriculum and grading is handled via certified teachers employed through Lincoln Online Learning and Edgenuity; Independence has created a system where we have our teachers acting as Case Managers for our students. I am very excited about our team and I know that they are excited about transitioning to this new role for our students. We have broken our students down into 3 grade bands based on numbers and unique learning needs. While we have a specific teacher dedicated to each grade band; we know that their unique talents and educational experience will allow them to collaborate and overlap when necessary. We also know that reaching out to our other teachers to help support our students is a reality

K-2 will be headed by Mrs Hudak from IPS. Mrs. Hudak has spent her career fostering our youngest learners and collaborating with the staff at IPS. She brings a unique knowledge of early literacy and social emotional skill building, not too mention her passion to volunteer for such a unique teaching experience to help our kids succeed.

3-6 students will be guided by Mrs. Wagner from IMS. Mrs. Wagner is an award winning and national recognized educator with a passion for writing. Mrs. Wagner also brings years of experience as a health teacher to our team and an understanding of student-first learning that has inspired countless students to become accomplished writers.

7-12 students have one of our tech-savviest teachers to help them in their learning. Mrs. Janosek from IHS has built her career on collaboration and encouraging 21st Century Teaching. Mrs. Janosek has continued to re-create tech-oriented courses for our high school students that foster critical thinking, digital research, collaboration, and real-world skills that continue to help students after they leave Independence Local Schools.

Our teachers will be setting up Google Classrooms with their grade bands as we start our learning journey. We will also be working together to streamline our communication with parents. Our professional development around Lincoln Online Learning and Edgenuity will take place later in the week and next week. Once we develop our norms and specifics concerning communication, we will share that information with families and students.

What about building Events?
We are working with our principals to include our iPride Virtual Academy students with school events and their peers as much as possible during the semester. Due to restrictions, the majority of building events have been postponed or cancelled. Once the school year starts and we understand the flow of our day, it will be easier to find opportunities for socialization and virtual attendance of building events.

I know there might still be questions and concerns and I will continue to answer emails as quickly as possible. My goal is to email families Sunday evenings with updates and information.

Thank you,

Michael Pennington
Principal of iPride Virtual Academy
Director of Curriculum & Technology Integration
Independence Local Schools
7733 Stone Road
Independence, OH 44131