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Lower Merion School District

Off-Canvas

LMVA Handbook

Program Description

The Lower Merion School District has been educating students effectively for many years and knows what it takes for students to be successful on their path to college and/or career goals.  Whether learning is occurring in the conventional classroom or online, it involves rigorous coursework coupled with a combination of student engagement and instructional support.

Our cyber school program is offered in partnership with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit which includes access to many Lower Merion approved courses through various online providers including Edgenuity, PEAK, Virtual High School, and World of Learning under a larger umbrella called MVP.  Approved courses are accepted for Lower Merion credit but do not necessarily follow the same curricular sequence of topics as our face-to-face courses.  These courses are mainly asynchronous and are facilitated by certified teachers provided by the online organizations.  We expect the best from our students; that’s why we also offer support and progress monitoring by Lower Merion staff in addition to what is available through the online providers and the MCIU. 

Enrollment

Students must meet the following criteria to participate in the Lower Merion Virtual Academy through the Lower Merion School District: 

  1. Reside within the Lower Merion School District (the entire time courses are accessed)
  2. Complete the online registration form
  3. Meet with school district officials to determine course of study, as needed 
  4. View the orientation videos prior to beginning any cyber courses
  5. Commit to one full semester (half-year) at a time

Contact Information

Contact information for the Lower Merion Virtual Academy can be found on our district webpage. The link is listed under “Schools” as the LMVA is considered one of our district schools. The email address for the Lower Merion Virtual Academy is LMVA@LMSD.org.

School Calendar

Since the Lower Merion Virtual Academy courses can be accessed at any time, there are no specific “days off” for holidays, conferences, etcetera. The online calendar of assignments will automatically adjust every day in order for students to fully complete their work by the end of the semester. Any days that students do not complete assignments will affect this pacing. Students enrolled in AP courses will have assignments due each week that must be submitted at that time. Students and families are responsible for managing the completion of all assignments. 

Attendance

Attendance is determined by the amount of coursework completed and submitted to the course instructor and periodic check-ins with school staff. Students are expected to work on their cyber courses just as they would at the school building. The amount of time working on these courses should average 5 - 6 hours per day for full-time students. Students are expected to complete about 5% of each course per 5-day week as outlined in the chart below. The platform is designed for students to have a goal of 100% completion of the first half of the course by the midyear, and then 100% completion of the second half of the course by the end of the year. If students follow this schedule, they will complete 100% of the expected assignments for each semester. 

Expectations for progress during each semester of the school year are as follows. 

Semester Virtual Learning Progress Expectations for Regular Attendance:

Week number each semester: Progress expected for this week Total progress expected
Week 1 5% 5%
Week 2 5% 10%
Week 3 5% 15%
Week 4 5% 20%
Week 5 5% 25%
Week 6 5% 30%
Week 7 5% 35%
Week 8 5% 40%
Week 9 5% 45%
Week 10 5% 50%
Week 11 5% 55%
Week 12 5% 60%
Week 13 5% 65%
Week 14 5% 70%
Week 15 5% 75%
Week 16 5% 80%
Week 17 5% 85%
Week 18 5% 90%
Week 19 5% 95%
Week 20 5% 100%

Students will be held accountable for their attendance online. Students are required to submit written excuses for not completing the necessary amount of work. These excuses are to be brought or mailed to the student’s home school within three (3) days. Students who fail to complete a basic amount of work each week and who do not submit excuses may be cited for truancy.

The following guidelines and actions will be taken when a student fails to complete the appropriate amount of work or does not meet the minimum requirement of time attempting to complete assignments:

  • Notice/ truancy letter sent home to parents
  • Mandatory meeting with school officials/ administration
  • Implementation of Truancy Elimination Plan
  • Citations filed against the parent/guardian/student
  • Removal from LMVA

Any interruptions to the timely completion of assignments such as sickness, vacations, death in the family etc. should be communicated immediately. Progress is monitored by the submission of coursework to the online course teacher. No submission of work means no progress.

Any student demonstrating continued academic failure in their online courses will be put on academic warning and may be removed from LMVA and asked to return to their home building in order to receive additional support and monitoring.

Student progress will be monitored by the online teacher and the District but should also be monitored at home by the parent or guardian. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to complete all requirements of any course.

PSSA and Keystone Testing

All students are required to report to their home school for PSSA and/or Keystone testing as required by the state. Testing dates and times will be provided to you by your home building. PSSA testing occurs in the spring. Keystone testing occurs mid-year and at the end of the school year.

Grading

Grades for LMVA students are always available in the digital gradebook through the online providers and are not viewable in Powerschool. A grade will be provided to the district at the end of each semester by the online providers for each course. Those grades will then be entered into Powerschool for each course. Lower Merion will average semester one and semester two grades together at the end of the school year to determine the final grade for each course. A course that is only a semester long will simply use the grade reported to us by the provider as the final grade for that semester long course. Grades for students who return to their home school for any reason will follow them from LMVA and be included in their end of year calculations. 

Field Trips/ Extracurricular Activities

Any student enrolled in distance learning is eligible to go on any entire-grade field trips or residency experiences available to traditional students. Transportation, admission, or any other fees are dependent on trip parameters and are not the sole responsibility of the Lower Merion School District. 

All students enrolled in LMVA are eligible to participate in school sponsored sports and special events such as dances, community service etc. Events may be viewed through the district website. All eligibility requirements and criteria are outlined in the handbook and will be followed as with any traditional student. It is up to the student to meet their academic responsibilities in order to participate. Infractions of the discipline code as outlined in the handbook will result in loss of privileges.

Career and Technical Center

All cyber-students in grades 10-12 are eligible to attend the Central Montco Technical High School. Please contact your guidance counselor for additional details.

Extensions

The online courses through LMVA, in partnership with the MCIU, cannot be extended beyond the designated end date for each semester. Students are expected to complete the required assignments for the specified semester of each course by that end date. The flexibility of the program does allow students to work ahead if they choose. Students finishing a semester early will not be able to start the next semester, or next year’s coursework in advance of the designated start date of that upcoming term. Students who complete all required work in advance of the semester end date are able to do individual research or exploration on topics of their interest. Students may not self-accelerate to the next course in a sequence simply by working at a faster pace than what is expected.

LMVA Frequently Asked Questions

Please visit our LMVA Frequently Asked Questions page for the most up-to-date information.