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Frequently Asked Questions

IVSA is a program of the Lake County Regional Office of Education. We began as a statewide virtual program for Illinois in 2001 & have been administered in the past by Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy and Peoria Regional Office of Education.   We can’t wait to serve you!

Please reach us at info@ivsaschool.org if you cannot find an answer to your question.

What is Illinois Virtual Schools & Academy?

Illinois Virtual Schools & Academy is a public tuition-based online learning program administered through the Lake County Regional Office of Education #34. IVSA is the only public program approved by the State Board of Education’s Virtual Course Catalog. The mission of IVSA is to provide a supportive and engaging online learning community for students that is based on the highest-quality instruction, partnering with local schools and districts to deliver rigorous curriculum and connected learning experiences.

Educating the whole child is core to the mission of IVSA and begins with the unwavering belief that every student can succeed. We promote a culture of success by focusing on each student’s individual needs and celebrating every student’s success. Our highly personalized, interactive virtual model lets students learn where and how they learn best.

What grades does IVSA serve?

IVSA offers curriculum for grades 5-12 including Core, Honors, AP, Career, and Credit Recovery. View our catalog here: IVSA Course Catalog

Can students enroll after the traditional school year has started?

Yes. IVSA has multiple enrollment dates around the calendar. Our enrollment cycle is designed to provide the greatest flexibility for students.

Can my child attend the program part-time or during the summer?

Yes. Courses are offered full-time, part-time, and year-round.

How long are IVSA courses?

IVSA terms vary in length from 9 (summer) to 18 weeks. Refer to the IVSA Schedule for exact dates.

How much does the online program cost? How do I register?

Academy tuition is $4000 per semester. Supplemental courses (up to 3 per semester) are $300 for original credit, $190 for credit recovery. Note that schools can apply for course fee reimbursement through the ISBE IVCC program.

Students register through their local school or as a homeschool student. Students should speak with their Guidance Counselor at school or, for homeschool, email support@ivsaschool.org.

How does an IVSA course work?

IVSA courses are asynchronous which means they are designed for students to complete them independently. All of the course instruction, activities, and assessments are inside of the online course. Teachers are available to help students with content, provide feedback and grades, and communicate with students as needed. Most supplemental teachers are also face-to-face teachers and so work with IVSA students outside of school hours. Academy teachers are full–time teachers available during the day. They provide instructional support and are a key part of our Academy Support Team.

All IVSA courses require students to read, watch videos, and interact with games or practice questions. Students move through courses in a linear order; as a student completes requirements, the course will unfold. It is impossible to skip large pieces of IVSA courses, and it’s not recommended for learning!

Original Credit courses will have written assignments like paragraphs, essays, and math problems, written threaded discussion boards, labs, research projects, and automated and teacher-graded quizzes and tests.

Credit Recovery courses are prescriptive. Students take pre-tests and potentially test out of lessons or units. All assessments in Credit Recovery courses are auto graded.

What curriculum does IVSA use?

IVSA has carefully reviewed the top online curriculum and tailored its catalog to best meet the needs of Illinois students. All curriculum is aligned to state standards, NCAA, and AP requirements where applicable.

What subjects does IVSA offer?

IVSA offers core courses inclusive of English, mathematics, science, and social studies. The curriculum also includes art, physical education, test prep, music, world languages, technology literacy, career and other electives. Additionally, honors and Advanced Placement courses are available. View our catalog here: IVSA Course Catalog

Will I need to purchase books or materials for courses?

Students will need to have general school materials such as calculators and headphones. Only a few AP courses require any textbook purchase. Check the course catalog for a complete materials list by course. IVSA Course Catalog

Do I have to come to school to work on my IVSA course?

IVSA is anyplace, anytime learning so courses can be accessed from anywhere. Many Supplemental students work on their courses outside of school or during a study hall if the IVSA course is a part of their daily school schedule. IVSA advises that students work through their local school to help determine where the student will access IVSA.

How much time do students spend on the computer?

The amount of time a student spends on the computer varies by grade and course. A typical student spends 45 minutes per day, per course on their computer. 

What is a typical day like for an Academy student?

No two students have the same needs and IVSA understands that. Many virtual students lead busy lives, and flexibility in both time and place allows them to pursue their passions and interests. Academy students will be required to meet with subject area teachers and support staff for a few hours each week. The schedule is determined through conversation with the partner school, family, and student.

How does my student know what to do first at IVSA?

When first getting started at IVSA each Full-Time Academy student will meet with their school counselor and student success coach for an onboarding meeting. This meeting will provide students with the basic tools and information they need to be successful at IVSA. All students at IVSA have access to an online student orientation which provides them with the basic tools and information they need to be successful. IVSA staff and teachers initiate communication with students at the start of a program. It is therefore very important that your student checks email regularly.

What does IVSA do to help students remain safe while participating in this program?

IVSA understands that student privacy and safety are important components of student success. Here are a few ways that we work to keep your students safe online.

  • Technical Support can help students configure Internet security settings and find additional Internet filtering software to ensure your student does not accidentally access content that may be harmful.
  • Staff training regarding student safety is a critical part of the IVSA professional development plan. All IVSA staff have been fully trained in internet safety and privacy regulations. 
  • Forming relationships between teachers and students is a key component of student success. Teachers and students have regularly scheduled virtual meetings to ensure that any problem that may arise is addressed quickly. Educators who know their students are better able to note behaviors or attitudes that may indicate problems.
  • IVSA strictly prohibits any form of bullying/cyberbullying, harassment, hazing, or other destructive actions that may cause emotional and/or physical harm to students. School policies regarding these prohibited behaviors are documented in the Student Handbook.

IVSA meets the Illinois Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA) requirements for student data privacy.

What is expected of a student enrolled in an IVSA course?

Success in an online course requires students to be diligent in reading communication, time management, and self-motivation. Although students are not expected to be computer experts, they should have basic computer skills. Lucky for IVSA students, staff and teachers constantly help students stay on pace and learn how to improve skills and communication.

All courses have a syllabus and pace chart. Print these items to allow your student to check off work turned in and clearly see what is coming next.

Students and families should stay in communication with teachers and let them know if a student is going to be off pace. Teachers are experts at supporting students who need flexibility in scheduling.

All IVSA teachers will have office hours. Students are encouraged to use these hours to get immediate support.

Do I have to have a computer and Internet Access at home?

Students must have consistent access to a computer and the Internet. Academy students can be provided a computer by IVSA as part of their tuition. Supplemental students need to provide their own computer. IVSA recommends PCs over tablets or phones for coursework.

IVSA can advise all students on how to find reliable internet access through local school or community partners.

What computer skills do IVSA students need?

Students do not need advanced computer skills to be successful in our courses. Students should be able to complete basic functions and know how to access their courses. Students will have an orientation to teach them how to work in Canvas. Our support staff is readily available to assist students with any technical issues.

What hardware and software do students need to access lessons and learning tools online?

There are some specific software requirements necessary to use our systems. IVSA Support provides schools and students with the technical requirements as well as ongoing assistance.

Who monitors student progress?

At IVSA we believe it’s important that students have as much support as possible. Designated local partner school personnel and parents/guardians have access to view student progress at any time on the IVSA dashboard which is updated daily by Canvas. IVSA teachers are the point people for student progress and are tasked with alerting the school, parents, and the IVSA Support Team if they believe a student is falling behind. If anyone ever has a question regarding student progress, the teacher is the first person to ask. Academy students are closely monitored by their Success Coach and Guidance Counselor as well.

How do students communicate with instructor(s)?

Communication with instructor(s) may be through text, email, telephone, and via the messaging system within the online program. 

Instructors will also have scheduled office hours. This is a set time when your instructor(s) will be available to help you. Ask your teacher about office hours.

How do students get help?

For technical questions (lost password, video not playing)      email support@ivsaschool.org.

For specific content questions, students should contact their teacher. IVSA teachers can answer all questions about the course.

Academy students have access to on-demand tutoring services and can also reach out to their Success Coach for general help.

It is very important that students reach out to their teachers or Support Staff for help. If we don’t know there is a question, we can’t answer it! Asking for help also reduces the chances of Academic Integrity Policy violations.

Does IVSA provide IEP and 504 accommodations?

IVSA is committed to helping all students succeed in our courses. It is the local school or family’s responsibility to share any learning plans with IVSA so that we may provide classroom accommodations. Accommodation for Academy students are a shared effort between the local school and IVSA.

How do students drop or add a course?

The first two weeks of each term is the Drop-Grace Period where students may be dropped without any monetary penalty. After the first two weeks, payments are not refunded. Students who wish to drop a course should speak to their local school Mentor.

How will students get their final grades?

When IVSA teachers complete student grades in our system, that generates an IVSA transcript which is accessible to partner school personnel, parents, and students. If students would like official copies of their IVSA transcript sent somewhere other than their local school, please contact our Support Team at support@ivsaschools.org.

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