Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) is designed to meet the needs of a diverse range of students who seek a rigorous academic program through a flexible online school experience, with access to school services such as clubs, activities, counseling services, and college advising. Students at GCA attend school online using our robust learning management system (Canvas LMS), which hosts online courses and course management tools for students, teachers and parents. The Canvas LMS offers a single place where students can access any information related to their academic life at GCA. Students use the Canvas LMS to:
- Access their courses
- Access supplemental tools and resources
- Take assessments
- Review grades for courses within Canvas*
- Manage their course schedule
- Interact with faculty, staff and peers in an online community
*Note: Infinite Campus is the student’s Official Grade Book and is updated with all grades weekly.
- How Class Sessions Work
- STUDENT ONBOARDING PROGRAM
- ROLE OF PARENT/LEARNING COACH
- LIVE INTERACTION
- SCHOOL PROPERTY AND SUPPLIES
All GCA classes are conducted using a combination of asynchronous and synchronous (“real-time”) components. The combination of asynchronous and synchronous assignments may vary based on the course.
Courses contain asynchronous reading assignments, activities, assessments and videos, as well as synchronous ‘live’ class sessions conducted by the teacher at predefined times. All live core content class sessions are recorded, so students may access sessions for review, as needed. We have both required and encouraged ‘live’ class sessions depending on a student’s academic proficiency level. Small group and 1:1 class sessions are not recorded, since those are individualized to a particular student’s academic needs.
Central to these synchronous sessions is the online classroom technology our teachers use, which provides a whiteboard for live online instruction, the ability to conduct multi-student discussions and collaborative activities, and space for instructional slides, as well as file and video sharing. This technology enables teachers and students to engage in live virtual discussion as if they were in a physical classroom. Attendance requirements for ‘live’ class sessions is based on the student’s academic proficiency level, their timeliness at completing assignments/ assessments, and/or their adherence to school procedures and policies. In cases where a scheduling conflict prevents a student from attending a required ‘live’ class session, students must notify their Compliance Specialist in advance, provide an acceptable excuse if applicable, and they must watch the recording. It is highly encouraged that students either attend live class sessions or watch the recordings of the live class sessions regardless of whether they have earned full flexibility or not. Students who are required to attend ‘live’ class sessions will be counted absent if not in attendance. Note: Watching recordings does not remove the missed session(s) (i.e. absences) that students may accrue during the school year if the absences are not excused.
Our faculty members also use ‘live’ class session tool for small group remediation sessions, one-on-one tutoring sessions, and parent-teacher meetings. These particular ‘live’ class sessions may or may not be recorded at the discretion of the host.
To facilitate a successful virtual education experience for your student, Georgia Cyber Academy has implemented a student onboarding program, Strong Start, to ease new students into the online learning environment and to prepare them for the start of school. This program will only commence AFTER the student has completed the enrollment and admissions process. Typically, the program begins mid-July and must be completed before your student can attend classes. However, onboarding may differ, depending on the student’s grade level and when they start school. Please expect a welcome e-mail and phone call from your Family Engagement Liaison (FEL) before the first day of school.
Stay Strong is our on-boarding program for our re-enrolling existing students. This program will introduce existing students to new curriculums (if any), platform changes (if any), procedural/policy amendments (if any), and inform them of the school’s expectations for the upcoming school year as well as be a resource for the entire year. This will better prepare them for the start of school and allow many of the typical start of school tasks to be completed prior to the first day of school. Your FEL will contact you before the start of school with instructions of how to access the Stay Strong course.
During the first month of school, students and parents should plan to attend a Learning Coach Live Help and Technology Training virtual session, as well as their teachers’ scheduled course orientations. A recording and/or documents of the Learning Coach Live Help and Technology Training virtual session will be posted on the Georgia Cyber Academy website located at www.georgiacyber.org/calendars.
Georgia Cyber Academy students access their learning resources online. While school faculty and staff support student learning, there is still a need for support and guidance from an adult who is physically present with the student to supervise and monitor progress throughout the school day and year. Georgia Cyber Academy refers to this “at home” role as Learning Coach. Most frequently the Learning Coach is a parent, but it can also be a tutor or other designated adult responsible for the student’s day-to-day learning supervision. Parents are asked to identify the designated Learning Coach, who faculty/ staff will communicate with throughout the school year.
The primary duties of the learning coach are to enter their student’s attendance daily, read their GCA emails at least once daily, answer all communications within 24 hours, complete all paperwork requests, complete all surveys, keep the student’s information up to date, monitor their student’s assignment completion and grades daily, ensure that their student attends all required live classes, monitors their student when taking assessments and tests to ensure that no ‘additional help’ is provided that might mask whether a student truly understands
the concepts or not, and communicate with their student’s teacher(s), counselor, and FEL whenever they feel that a student is struggling or needs additional support. Students who are required to attend ‘live’ class sessions will be counted absent if not in attendance, regardless of parent entered attendance.
(student to teacher/administration & parent/guardian/LC to teacher/administration)
Live interaction and conversation through chat, video, mic, or via phone is required to some extent for all students. Depending on the proficiency level of the student that can be more or less live interaction. Students who login to class and are consistently not responsive to teachers may be referred to the counseling department, a behavior interventionist, and/or their principal to determine what barriers might exist to preclude participation and how any issues may be addressed. Learning coaches (parent/legal guardian or designated adult) are required to some extent to converse with staff regarding their student on a regular basis as well.
Our faculty teach online live classes just like in a traditional school model. Students that attend live classes interact with the teacher and other students. All classes are recorded, so students can refer to them if needed. Additionally, there are online live small groups, instructional support classes, and open offices. There is a combination of online and off-line work and projects to complete and turn in with due dates.
Students that are struggling to master standards/skills or have demonstrated a proficiency level below their assigned grade level are required to attend live classes on a set schedule. These students would submit excuses for their absences just like in a traditional school.
Students that are doing well and have demonstrated a proficiency level that is consistent with or above their assigned grade level, are following school policies, and completing all assignments/tests on time are afforded more flexibility and may view recorded classes when they miss live classes instead of being required to attend all live sessions on a set schedule.
Field trips, face to face social events, online clubs, and all-school in-person events/outings are optional, but highly encouraged.
If a student is having difficulties learning the material or being compliant to school policies, there will be additional interaction required. Parents/legal guardians/learning coaches should be prepared to attend all conferences and meetings regarding discussions/concerns/issues/academic decisions about their student as may be required. These conferences and/or meetings may be held in person, by telephone, and/or by video conference.
Georgia Milestones Assessments are mandatory and require face to face/in-person participation. Opt-outs are not permitted.
Other exams may be mandatory and may require face to face/in-person participation or be monitored virtually on camera and mic. For other mandatory exams, opt-outs are not permitted. These exams include but are not limited to Interim Assessments, Beacon Assessments, GAA, ACCESS, WIDA, NWEA MAP Assessments, i-Ready Diagnostics, WriteScore exams, Final Exams, CogAT, etc.
GCA requires all students to be on camera, with their mic on, and their device monitored for the entirety of most assessments/tests/exams, regardless of proficiency level. Students’ faces must be unobstructed and visible on camera during the entirety of the testing/assessment/exam period. If the student is not monitored on camera, then face to face/in-person participation will be required to take these tests/assessments/exams as well. Assessments/tests/exams may be invalidated by the teacher or administration if the student is not on camera and mic the entire time the student is taking the assessments/tests/exams. In most cases the student may be allowed to take a make-up assessment/test/exam when this occurs. If a valid monitored assessment/test/exam is not submitted within the prescribed time period, then the student will receive a zero for the assessment/test/exam.
Georgia Cyber Academy provides academic support tools, equipment, and assistive technology when warranted and at its sole discretion. At present, all the programs/curriculums that GCA currently utilizes are online without a need for physical books and/or equipment. Georgia Cyber Academy provides loaner computers and printers to families upon request (see below under section Computer Policy). Hot spots for internet service may be provided to families in financial need provided that their student attends class and is compliant to all GCA requirements, rules, procedures, and policies (see below in section Hot Spots and Internet Service Provider (ISP) Supplement Program). These materials are school property and must be kept in good condition. Damage incurred to school property beyond normal wear and tear is subject to disciplinary action and/or replacement of equipment at the family’s expense.
All school property must be returned when a student fails to show up upon enrollment and/or is withdrawn from the school. It must be returned clean and in good condition. Failure to return school property upon request will be considered theft by conversion under Georgia law and the school reserves the right to pursue criminal and civil charges against anyone who violates this provision in order to reclaim school property or collect restitution for such property after attempts to collect the equipment have been exhausted. PLEASE KEEP THE BOXES AND PACKING MATERIALS THAT SCHOOL PROPERY WAS SHIPPED IN FOR FUTURE RETURNS.
Facilities that are used for Georgia Cyber Academy outings are considered school property, and the same expectations we have for equipment and materials apply to the Georgia Cyber Academy outing facilities.
Parents are responsible for the repair or replacement of all lost, stolen, or damaged school property. A list of property to return will be provided to parents upon withdrawal or graduation if it exceeds a computer, printer, and hotspot. A list will not be provided for a computer, printer, and/or hot spot as those must be returned upon withdrawal or graduation for all students. All property and equipment must be returned in good, working condition upon withdrawal from the program. Please contact 404-334-4790 *8 and request a shipping label to return equipment.
Any printed materials that may be provided are copyrighted, and unauthorized copying of those materials is a copyright infringement.
Materials/equipment provided by GCA cannot be sold or transferred and are to be used solely by the student in his or her studies while enrolled in the school. Parents are to comply with this rule and all the terms and conditions of the School Property section of this handbook.
Basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, pens, erasers, highlighters, notebooks, binders, folders, markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue/glue sticks, scissors, rulers, protractors, compass, calculators, etc. are the responsibility of our families. A suggested school list will be provided for each grade level at the beginning of the school year. Please email your FSL or homeroom teacher if one was not received.
- Loaner Computer and Printer
- Printer Ink and Computer Paper
- Loaner Hotspots and Internet Service Provider (ISP) Supplement Program
Georgia Cyber Academy requires all families to have a minimum of one dedicated computer per student and one printer per household that meet the minimum specifications necessary to access the GCA Online School (GOLS). Georgia Cyber Academy provides loaner computers and printers to families upon request. Families must also have internet access to participate in the school. A high-speed Internet connection is necessary. If a RELIABLE high-speed internet service connection is not available where you reside, then there is no way to participate in our virtual education program as we have no control on a given location’s infrastructure. Dial-up internet access will not provide adequate access to the GOLS. Internet access is verified during the enrollment process and throughout the school year. Hot spots or reimbursement for internet service may be provided to students that have a financial need (see below in section Hot Spots and Internet Service Provider (ISP) Supplement Program). It is at the school’s discretion whether to provide a Hot Spot or ISP Reimbursement to assist families that have a financial need with securing internet service.
IMPORTANT NOTE: At the sole discretion of Georgia Cyber Academy hot Spots, computers, or printers may be turned off, locked, or issue a request that they be returned during the summer months. Georgia Cyber Academy does not necessarily provide computers, printers, or internet assistance during the summer months unless a student is actively enrolled and fully participating in GCA’s summer remediation program, Credit Recovery Courses, Summer School, Dual Enrollment Courses, and/or its Special Education Extended School Year Program.
Minimum technical specifications are as follows:
- Chrome, Windows-based, or Apple computer
- Reliable High-Speed Internet Connection with a recommended minimum 3 Megabits per second download speed Internal or external microphone
- Internal or external speakers
- Internal or external web camera
- Google Chrome Browser
- Firefox Browser
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
Georgia Cyber Academy will provide a computer to any student and a printer to any enrolling family upon request. Please contact your Family Success Liaison if you need a computer or printer.
Computer kits include a computer, mouse, power cord, protective sleeve, and headphones with a microphone. All references to computers include the peripheral equipment/items aforementioned. PLEASE KEEP THE BOX AND PACKING MATERIALS FOR FUTURE RETURNS.
Printers include a power cord, paper tray, and one set of ink. All references to printers include the peripheral equipment/items aforementioned. PLEASE KEEP THE BOX AND PACKING MATERIALS FOR FUTURE RETURNS.
Computers and Printers are school property and must be kept in good condition. Damage incurred to computers and printers beyond normal wear and tear is subject to disciplinary action and/or replacement of the computer at the family’s expense. Families will be invoiced for equipment that is damaged beyond normal wear and tear and given the opportunity to pay for its replacement prior to a collection agency being involved.
Computers and printers must be returned when a student fails to show up after enrollment, graduates, transfers, and/or is withdrawn from the school. A return label and box, if needed, will be provided, so that no additional expense is incurred by our families. Please contact 404-334-4790 *8 and request a shipping label to return equipment. All school property must be returned clean and in good condition. Failure to return school property upon request will be considered theft by conversion under Georgia law and the school reserves the right to pursue criminal and civil charges against anyone who violates this provision in order to reclaim school property or collect restitution for such property after attempts to collect the equipment have been exhausted. Families that fail to return equipment will be invoiced for the equipment and given the opportunity to pay for its replacement prior to a collection agency being involved or police report being filed.
Families who meet the requirements listed below are eligible to receive either a hotspot or an ISP supplement checks to help off-set the cost of internet service for their student(s). It is at the sole discretion of the school which type of internet assistance is provided to families with a financial need.
The requirements for receiving a hotspot or an ISP supplement are:
- Family participates in the GCA Online School per requirements.
- Family has a Georgia Cyber Academy loaner computer.
- Family has completed a family income form after July 1st of the current school year and qualifies for financial assistance.
- Family is compliant in academics, attendance, records and all other GCA requirements.
- Family must have a current student address on file. Failure to provide an updated student address with required proof of residence will result in the forfeiture of the hotspot or in the ISP check being voided and the check will not be re-issued.
- ISP Checks are only provided if a family does not have a GCA issued Hotspot.
- Only one hotspot or ISP supplement will be provided per household.
If issued a loaner hotspot, it must be returned when a student fails to show up after enrollment, graduates, transfers, and/or is withdrawn from the school. A return label and box, if needed, will be provided, so that no additional expense is incurred by our families. Please contact 404-334-4790 *8 and request a shipping label to return equipment. All school property must be returned clean and in good condition. Failure to return school property upon request will be considered theft by conversion under Georgia law and the school reserves the right to pursue criminal and civil charges against anyone who violates this provision in order to reclaim school property or collect restitution for such property after attempts to collect the equipment have been exhausted. Families that fail to return equipment will be invoiced for the equipment and given the opportunity to pay for its replacement prior to a collection agency being involved or police report being filed.
ISP checks are only issued if the hotspot provider does not provide internet coverage in the area where the student resides (the student address of record).
If an ISP check is warranted, then it will be mailed twice per school year at the rate of $12.99 per month (per household) for the school year ISP supplement payments are made at the end of January and at the end of June or July and it is the responsibility of the legal guardian to ensure that all information listed in their student’s Infinite Campus account is accurate for mailing purposes. ISP checks are issued to the legal guardian on record.
Eligibility for the ISP supplement begins the first full month after the family receives the loaner computer package. To receive the supplement when issued in January or June/July, the student must be enrolled in the school at the time of supplement processing to be eligible to receive it. Please be aware that if an ISP check is lost, Georgia Cyber Academy does not automatically reissue a check to the family. If a check is not received or is lost in the mail, parents need to notify the Georgia Cyber Academy office within thirty (30) days of checks being mailed to open an inquiry. At the discretion of Georgia Cyber Academy, non-compliant students may have ISP supplements denied. Checks not cashed within ninety (90) days will not be reissued.
IMPORTANT NOTE: At the sole discretion of Georgia Cyber Academy hot Spots may be turned off during the summer months. Georgia Cyber Academy does not necessarily provide internet assistance during the summer months unless a student is actively enrolled and fully participating in GCA’s summer remediation program, Credit Recovery Courses, Summer School, Dual Enrollment Courses, and/or its Special Education Extended School Year Program.