Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can homeschool students sign up for the MCPS Online Academy (MOA)?

    • The MCPS Online Academy is only open to students who are enrolled in our school district. If a family who is currently homeschooling their student chooses to enroll in this short term online program, they must live within the boundaries of our elementary or high school district and they must enroll in our school district before registering for the MOA. All policies and procedures of our school district (i.e. immunization requirements, residency requirements, etc.) will apply to students enrolled in the MCPS Online Academy. 

    Can students with an IEP sign up for the MCPS Online Academy?

    • Yes, all students in MCPS may enroll in the MCPS Online Academy, including students with IEPs. Please review information on our website to determine if this a good choice for your student. If questions or concerns arise regarding the implementation of the IEP, an IEP team may convene to discuss goal implementation in the online learning environment. 

    If the whole school district opens in Phase 0, will all students be enrolled in the MCPS Online Academy?

    • No, students who participate in the online academy will be assigned teachers who are part of the online academy and they will learn exclusively within that classroom group. Students who participate in person at one of our schools will be taught by their in-person classroom teacher at all times - including if we are in Phase 0 -Remote only instruction, or in Phase 1 - Hybrid Instruction.

    Can a student return to attending classes at their school if they change their mind?

    • Yes, we will allow students to transfer between the online academy and their home school. However, we strongly encourage families to make a commitment for a full semester and we will have to review transfer requests on a case by case basis.
    • We will be committing a significant number of our staff to the online academy. This means that when students transfer back to their home school, we will have to ensure proper class sizes can be maintained in our in person learning environment and our online academy.

    On which calendar(s) will the MCPS Online Academy operate? 

    The first day of school for the MCPS Online Academy was Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

    What will the typical MCPS Online Academy school day be like? 

    • At elementary, middle and high school students will spend a comparable amount of time on daily learning as their peers attending in-person classes in one of our 17 schools. 

    Elementary students will complete a total of two hours of synchronous learning between the hours of 8:30 - 1:30. They will not have two hours of screen time all in a row.

    Students will start the day at 8:30 a.m. with teacher directed activities and they will take time away from their screens during the day for brain breaks, offline activities structured by the teacher, physical activity, and independent learning periods. Then students will get back online at scheduled times to meet with their teacher and classmates. Teachers will use a variety of learning and engagement strategies so that students are writing on a whiteboard, using math manipulatives, doing independent reading, and practicing healthy physical activity. Students in grades K-2 will participate using the online platform Seesaw while students in grades 3-5 will use Google Classroom. Students will upload assignments into the learning platform with the help of their parents.

    There will also be small group learning within their class groups based on each student's reading and math levels.

    Parents will assist with offline assignments each day - this work can happen after the synchronous learning period from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. is over. 

    Middle school students will participate in morning check-in meetings with their homeroom teacher at 8:00 a.m. each day. Throughout the day, other content area teachers will have some scheduled class meetings and scheduled check-in times between 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Students will work on the assignments provided in their Apex Learning courses independently. Students will be able to seek out their teacher during daily office hours for help with content covered in the Apex Learning courses. Teachers will make an effort to include aspects of the curriculum materials being used in the in-person instructional model so that students are familiar with the same resources as their peers. This includes work from Carnegie Math, Mathia, and EngageNY for English Language Arts.

    High school students will work on the assignments provided in their Apex Learning courses independently. Throughout the day, content area teachers will have some scheduled class meetings and scheduled check-in times between 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Students will be able to seek out their teacher during daily office hours for help with content covered in the Apex Learning courses.

    Who will be in my student’s class?

    • Elementary and middle school students will be placed in classes with other students from their grade level, to the best of our ability we will keep students from the same school in the same classes to help support families who may be learning together in a small home-based pod. We will not be able to accommodate all parent requests for class grouping based on your own home-based learning pods.
    • High school students will be placed in classes with students taking the same Apex Learning course from across all of our high schools.

    What do the middle and high school course offerings look like? 

    • Middle school students will select from Apex Learning CORE courses in English, Math (including options for accelerated Math), Science, Social Studies, PE and General Music. Spanish will be available to students who have participated in the Dual Language Immersion program and have met prerequisites for taking high school level Spanish courses. Students will participate in all six courses at the same time. 
    • High School students will select from any of the Apex Learning CORE courses. Students will participate in the same numbers of courses as their peers at their home high school.


    How much time will a student be expected to spend in front of a computer? 

    • Elementary students will spend 2-3 hours per day in front of a computer
    • Middle and High School students will spend 5-6 hours per day in front of a computer. 
    • All students will be provided with hands-on offline learning activities away from the computer each day.

    Will the schedule/routine be the same everyday? 

    • We will strive for 80% of the schedule to remain the same each school day with 20% of the schedule to remain flexible based on small group work, projects, and other teacher directed activities.

    What are the expectations of a parent or guardian regarding ensuring their child is participating appropriately and effectively in virtual learning? 

    • Just like our expectation for parents when students attend in-person classes, we need you as partners to support your student’s learning journey. Please connect with your student’s teacher(s) and principal when you have questions or concerns about your student and respond to phone calls and questions that may come your way from our school.

    Elementary students will need a parent or adult supporting them during the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. as they work through online synchronous classroom time and independent activities. Parents may also need to support their student outside of these hours to complete coursework. Parents will need to help their children upload assignments into the SeeSaw or Google Classroom portal. It will be helpful for parents to echo the classroom rules for behavior and encourage their students to engage in positive classroom behavior and to ask the teacher when they need help. 

    Middle school students will need a parent or adult supporting them with technical support to connect to the Internet, get into their Google Classroom, and possibly to help submit assignments  As middle school students become more comfortable with the technology, they will rely less on their parent support and may only need help with technology troubleshooting. Middle school students will need parent support with organization and time management skills to stay on track with their learning. Please read the weekly parent emails summarizing your student’s work and progress and help your student to identify goals for completing their work each day. It will be helpful for parents to echo the classroom rules for behavior and encourage their students to engage in positive classroom behavior and to ask the teacher when they need help.

    High school students will need a parent or adult supporting them with technical support to connect to the Internet, get into their Google Classroom, and possibly to help submit assignments  As they become more comfortable with the technology, they will rely less on their parent support and may only need help with technology troubleshooting. High school students will need parent support with organization and time management skills to stay on track with their learning. Please read the weekly parent emails summarizing your student’s work and progress and help your student to identify goals for completing their work each day. It will be helpful for parents to echo the classroom rules for behavior and encourage their students to engage in positive classroom behavior and to ask the teacher when they need help.

    How is actual teaching going to be handled when a student is doing online instruction? 

    • Students will receive instruction from their classroom teacher each day. Middle and High School students will also receive instruction from the Apex Learning platform where courses are pre-built by teachers to cover all content requirements for that grade level and course.

    How is technology handled? Will students get laptops/wifi if they don’t have access? 

    • MOA students who need a laptop or wifi hotspot will be able to check out these materials for the semester.

    Will special services be provided virtually, too? 

    •  If a family chooses the Missoula Online Academy for the first semester, your student’s IEP team will convene as soon as possible to plan for what services and supports may look like.

    Will all courses offered in middle and high schools be offered in the MCPS Online Academy? 

    • No,  please see the Apex Learning Course catalog. All courses labelled as CORE courses will be available to MOA high school students. Middle school students will be able to select from English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, and General Music courses.

      Spanish will be available to middle school students who have participated in the Dual Language Immersion program and have met prerequisites for taking high school level Spanish courses.  

    Will a student lose their seat in their in person school for the future if they enroll in the MCPS Online  Academy - especially if they are attending a school other than their home school?

    • No, students will remain enrolled in their MCPS school, they will not lose their seat in that school. 

    Can students who participate in the MCPS Online Academy also participate in athletics and student activities at their assigned school? 

    • While attending the MOA, middle school students will not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics, at their school.
    • High School students will be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities and athletics. The Montana High School Association (MHSA) governs high school athletics and band, choir and orchestra and they may impose other guidelines.

    If a student doesn’t choose the MCPS Online Academy now, what is the default choice? And, can they change their mind later to participate? 

    • If your student is enrolled in our school district, the default choice is in-person learning at your school. If students start the year at their school and change their mind, they can still enroll in the MOA until Wednesday 9/2/20. Students who request a transfer after that date will be handled on a case-by-case basis. We don’t expect to be able to approve all transfer requests due to planning for staffing in our in-person and online environments.

    When will I find out who my student’s classroom teacher will be?

    • Parents and students will be notified of their classroom teacher by Friday 9/4. As we are able to, we will share this information on a rolling basis as students register in the MOA.

    When will I know what school supplies my student needs in the MOA?

    • We plan to share school supply lists with families by Friday, August 31st. 

    How will students be graded on their work in the MCPS Online Academy?

    • Elementary students will receive grades from their classroom teacher. Following our current standards for in-person classes, K-4 students will receive proficiency based grades in each subject area while 5th grade students will receive a letter grade A-F in each subject area.
    • Middle and High school students will receive grades from the Apex Learning Platform and their classroom teacher as numerical percentage of 100% and an A-F in each subject area. Grades will be updated in the Q gradebook.

    How will students integrate academically next semester if they have been taught different curricula (full remote, hybrid,  “block” courses for middle and high school students)?

    • All of our instructional models (in-person, remote, hybrid, and online) are based on the Montana State Standards. Teachers in the MOA may be using some differnt teaching materials but they will be covering the same content and working to ensure students meet the same standards. Our in-person and online learning environments will also be taught by an MCPS teacher so that we can be aware of scope and sequence of lessons in that content area. 
    • Just as we have students who transfer in and out of our in-person learning environments in the past, we will evaluate the student’s progress toward the state standards for that grade level in that content area and ensure that students stay on track to complete their school year successfully.

    Will there be any example pages, concepts, descriptions, or other supporting info to help parents understand the MOA?