Academic Focus: Curriculum and Instruction
Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) is committed to providing a rigorous Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) based curriculum and a solid system of support for all students. GCA students are provided with coursework in: Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. K-8th grade electives include required PE/Health (K-8th), required Art (K-5th), required Computer Science (6th-8th), optional Spanish (K -8th), optional Writing Fun (1st – 8th), optional Computer Science (K-5th), and optional Art (6th-8th). Two electives per semester are provided for grades 9-12 and vary by academic course path and individualized goals. GCA also provides supplemental tools and resources for standards-based review/practice to include, but are not limited to: iXL, Wowzers, MindPlay, Newslea, Spelling Classroom, Wordly Wise, Legends of Learning, Writable, Book Taco, Type to Learn, Edmentum (Study Island & Exact Path), BrainPOP, i-Ready, MobyMax, Classworks, USA Test Prep, NWEA Accelerate, Prodigy, and Education Galaxy. The provided supplemental tools and resources offered vary by a student’s grade level, individual learning plan, and required interventions.
All students take two electives as indicated in the preceding paragraph. Electives are all taken for a grade. 100% of elective courses must be completed.
Students may also take additional optional electives (more than 6 courses/subjects) if they scored proficient or distinguished on all sections of the previous year’s Milestones assessments and/or are part of the Gifted & Advanced program. For 1st-3rd students and 4th-8th grade students without previous year’s Milestones assessment scores, the students must demonstrate on grade level proficiency on all NWEA MAP to participate in additional optional electives (more than 6 courses/subjects). These additional optional electives (more than 6 courses/subjects) may be offered synchronously or asynchronously. Also, additional optional electives (more than 6 courses/subjects) will be taken for a grade.
Kindergarten students must be part of the Gifted & Advanced program to be allowed to take additional optional electives. Additionally, all students taking additional optional courses/subjects must maintain an 80 or above in all academic contents, turn assignments in on time, be compliant to attendance & engagement policies, and follow all school policies. Students will be removed from additional optional courses/subjects for failure to attend all required classes and/or to maintain adequate progress in any subject. Additional options include:
- Kindergarten Advanced & Gifted students – Spanish, Computer Science
- 1st through 5th grade students – Computer Science
- 1st through 8th grade students – Spanish
- 1st through 8th grade students – Writing Fun
- 6th - 8th grade students – Art
- 8th grade Advanced & Gifted students – High School Spanish (for HS credit)
- Advanced & Gifted Students may have additional options based on their individual Gifted Educational Plans
Georgia Cyber Academy encourages students to complete assigned lessons within each content area course, since courses in the subsequent grade levels assume completion of lessons in the prior grade. A lesson is completed when the student has mastered the objectives, as measured by the lesson assessment. Learning Coaches and students should work very closely with their teachers to decipher the best course of action when determining the time management of lesson and assessment completion.
The GCA Online School is designed to collect and record data that substantiates the academic progress of each student. Therefore, it is mandatory that Online School is used to collect assignment/assessment data that reflects the standing of the student. Any academic activities the student engages in each school day should be recorded by the Learning Coach as attendance and must be entered into Nucleus (our attendance module) by the Learning Coach each school day. This data serves as one of the primary tools for determining advancement into subsequent course levels in conjunction with the minutes automatically captured from student attendance in required online class sessions; together they count as attendance.
It is essential that parents of GCA students understand that, by enrolling in GCA, they agree to ensure that their students participate in the academic programs as designed, including completing all coursework, recording attendance, participating in required interactions with assigned teachers/staff, checking their email daily, and participating in school and state-mandated assessments.
GCA requires that parents/student submit work assignments to assist teachers with the decision to advance a student to the next course/grade level. GCA requires student work to be original, with appropriate citations for references to published works. Parents/students are provided work assignment guidelines from their assigned teacher(s). Work assignments are submitted electronically. At GCA, we understand that our school is academically rigorous. Meeting the challenge of completing one year of course work in this model can be demanding. Our certified, highly qualified teachers and support staff are here to assist parents/ learning coaches to meet the associated challenges.
A student identified as “academically at-risk” would hold a differentiated priority of contact, as determined by the teacher and the parent, and increased interventions may be warranted. It is vital to note that academically at- risk students require a greater commitment to remediation and support. Students who are identified as academically at-risk may receive additional Response to Intervention (RtI/MTSS) support. Students and Learning Coaches are required to comply with all recommendations to address the current academic needs of the student.
- Course Prerequisites
- Middle Grades Students Taking High School Courses
- Honors Courses
- Advanced Placement Courses
- Dual Enrollment Courses
- CTAE Elective Pathways
- Work Based Learning
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Requirements
- GCA Approved Programs for Additional Academic Credit (Optional)*
- Course Audits
- Mid-Year Enrollment
- Schedule Changes
Our mission is to provide an exemplary individualized and engaging educational experience for all students by incorporating school, family and community partnerships, coupled with rigorous curriculum within a data-driven and student-centered instructional model. Student success will be measured by valid and reliable assessment data and continued institutional growth within the academic community. In the spirit of the student success measurement component, the following guidelines outline our mastery-based grading principles and expectations.
Assessments are a necessary tool by which we can identify students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to better individualize their educational plan and supports and they are used to inform classroom instruction. These tools also assist us in determining a student’s level of academic mastery and may play a significant role in grade level placement decisions.
Students are required to take many assessments/tests/diagnostics/exams on camera & microphone. Teachers may also use our device management platform to monitor GCA devices during the assessment window. It is at the sole discretion of the teacher and/or school administration whether a student is required to take assessments/tests/diagnostics/exams on camera regardless of their proficiency level. If a student is required to take an assessment/test/diagnostic/exam on camera and fails to do so, then they will earn a zero (0) for that assessment/test/diagnostic/exam. Note: All Kindergarten through 3rd grade students are required to take all assessments/tests/diagnostics/exams on camera and/or microphone as may be applicable.
All students are required to attend tests/assessments/diagnostics/exams when they are assigned, or they will receive a zero (0). Students with excused absences will be given a make-up exam. Students may receive both a performance mastery grade as well as a participation grade for all tests/assessments/diagnostics/exams.
Students may be required to retake a test/assessment/diagnostic/exam if there is concern and/or indicators that the student did not take adequate time to perform the assigned task, did not take the test on camera, may have been assisted in performing the assessment in a manner that was not specifically permitted, and/or that the results may not have been the student’s own work. The determination of whether a student needs to retake a test/assessment/diagnostic/exam is at the sole discretion of the teacher and/or school administration. If a student is required to retake a test/assessment/diagnostic/exam, then a zero (0) will remain as the student’s grade until the test is retaken. If a student is found to have cheated on an exam, then the student may receive a zero (0) for the test/assessment/exam or may be given the opportunity to retake the test/assessment/exam for a score not to exceed 70% at the sole discretion of the teacher and/or school administration.
If the validity of an assessment/test/diagnostic/exam result is in question the student may be required to retake the exam in-person at the sole discretion of the school’s administration.
Testing for the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (End-of-Grade and End-of-Course exams), Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA), and ACCESS for ELLs are mandatory for applicable students. They must be taken in person at the assigned location and time and on the assigned date.
NWEA MAP tests (3 x a year) and final exams (2 x per year per course/subject at the end of each semester) are taken online and at a specific time. These tests will be monitored on camera. These assessments are mandatory.
iReady Diagnostics are required and will be proctored on-line through video and microphone. When assigned these diagnostics are mandatory.
Beacon assessments are proctored on-line through video and microphone. When assigned, these assessments are mandatory.
WriteScore is taken twice per year and is proctored on-line through video and microphone. When assigned, these assessments are mandatory.
The Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (GKIDS) is a mandatory summative assessment that takes place over the course of a school year. At times, it requires online student-teacher interaction through video and microphone. This is not an in-person exam.
NWEA Reading Fluency assessments (grades K-3) may require student teacher interaction and are proctored on- line through video and microphone. These tests are mandatory.
Interim Assessments and Final Exams are proctored on- line through video and microphone. These tests are mandatory.
ACCUPLACER, AP, SAT, ACT, PSAT, ASVAB, etc. are optional, but must be taken in person at an assigned time.
These may be required to participate in specific programs.
Gifted Testing is by invitation only and may be given in person and/or online proctored by camera and microphone at the sole discretion of the school administration and/or according to specific testing requirements. The testing is optional, but a ‘Gifted’ designation may be required to participate in specific programs and/or activities and cannot be acquired without participation in Gifted Testing.
There may be additional required tests/assessments/diagnostics/exams depending on the grade level, course, and/or a student's special circumstances that are monitored on camera and/or are taken in person. A student’s special circumstances may include but is not limited to those that may be required for RtI/MTSS monitoring, to participate in the Advanced & Gifted Program, to be considered for AP/Dual Enrollment classes, and/or as may be required per a student’s IEP.
All students have a set amount of time to complete tests/assessments/diagnostics/exams unless extended time is allowed per a student’s IEP and/or 504 Plan. Students who receive accommodations for extended time are typically expected to submit their tests/assessments/diagnostics/exams on the same due date as other students as extended time usually refers to the number of minutes allowed to complete an assessment. However, students are provided all necessary provisions as noted in their IEP and/or 504 Plan even if extended time, in rare instances, refers to an amended due date.