Return to In-Person Learning Five Days per Week

Huntsville City Schools (HCS) leaders announced plans during Thursday night’s board of education work session for traditional students to return to school Mondays through Fridays for the second nine weeks beginning Monday, Oct. 26, 2020.  To find out more, please click the more information button below:

Huntsville Virtual Academy

Registration for Huntsville Virtual Academy second semester will open Monday, October 26, 2020.

Huntsville City Schools is pleased to offer a virtual learning experience for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade who are zoned for Huntsville City Schools and have completed enrollment. Students may choose to continue in the traditional learning environment or enroll in a virtual learning program with Huntsville Virtual Academy, HVA. 

The virtual curriculum features courses in mathematics, science, language arts, world languages, social studies, as well as electives. In collaboration with the school counselor, virtual school students will have the opportunity to select a virtual pathway to meet his/her learning goals. Students desiring a virtual, non-traditional learning environment are encouraged to apply.

The enrollment window for second semester of the 2020-2021 school year will open Monday, October 26, 2020 and close Wednesday, November 18, 2020.

All families who wish for their student to be in HVA the second semester must complete the Spring 2021 registration. This includes currently enrolled HVA students.

HVA is open to all students currently enrolled in HCS. Please note: teaching assignments may change for the second semester.

With HVA, students will experience learning which occurs remotely with a Huntsville City Schools teacher, academic supports, and access to learning anywhere at anytime with a personalized pace and schedule.

Huntsville Virtual Academy students will remain enrolled in their home school and will be able to participate in clubs and organizations at their zoned school. They can also participate in athletics at their zoned school  (subject to Alabama High School Athletic Association eligibility.) Students who graduate from high school while a HVA student will receive a diploma from Huntsville City Schools and are eligible for honors graduate designations.

More Information

For more information about Huntsville Virtual Academy, view the FAQ questions and answers below, email Beth Keller, or call her at 256-428-6901

Huntsville Virtual Academy FAQ

General Information
What will Huntsville Virtual Academy look like?

Students will enroll as a full-time virtual student taking a full course load. They will work on classes at the time which works best for them. They don’t have to work during the normal school hours.  They may work at their own pace under the guidance of a Huntsville City Schools Virtual Instructor.

How does the Virtual Academy differ from the three learning frameworks?

Students will have two learning options for the upcoming 2020/2021 school year.  They will either be a traditional student, attending school in a classroom in the school building (dependent upon current health conditions) or they can enroll in the Huntsville Virtual Academy as a full virtual student (attending school remotely from home). 

The Traditional Student option will have three possibilities/scenarios that could occur throughout the school year, dependent on the COVID-19 health situation.  The three scenarios include:  Traditional, Blended, and Virtual.

The traditional framework includes face-to-face instruction in which students attend school every day. The traditional framework will be implemented if there is no surge or a low number of new cases of COVID-19.

In the event conditions do not permit for traditional learning, the blended framework will be utilized. Students will receive instruction both in-person and online. This framework will feature a staggered schedule in which students alternate days at school. This option will be utilized if COVID-19 cases increase daily or if there is concern for a potential surge in cases.

The virtual framework will occur if there is an active surge in COVID-19 cases and there are high rates of daily cases.  The virtual framework will include 100% online learning until health conditions improve and students are allowed to re-enter the school building.

Why is a virtual program being offered?

To allow students the flexibility of being a Huntsville City School’s student without having to attend a brick and mortar school.  Virtual Academy students will also have access to athletics, extracurricular activities, and clubs offered by HCS. HVA students will also graduate from a Huntsville City Schools high school.

Will the HVA student need to provide their own device?

No, Virtual Academy students will be issued a Huntsville City Schools laptop to use for learning.

Students in grades K-2 will receive new devices (touch screen Chromebook) at a 1:1 ratio. Grades 9-12 will receive new windows laptops to replace older ones. Middle school students received Chromebooks in FY 18-19.

Additional inventory devices were purchased to account for breakages and possible supply chain interruptions.  

Does the HVA follow the Huntsville City Schools academic calendar?

HVA operates on a standard semester system in accordance with the Huntsville City Schools’ academic calendar. Most high school classes are offered in a full year format or a modified block format.

What internet resources are available to families?

All school campuses are equipped with 300 yard wifi range, thanks to a partnership with AdTran and Huntsville Utilities. Additionally, HCS will deploy wifi-equipped buses into the community for families to access wifi. Families are also invited to visit everyoneon.org to view low-cost internet options in the area.

Enrollment & Eligibility
What is the enrollment criteria for HVA?

The requirements for student enrollment are:

  • Student must be enrolled in a Huntsville City School
  • Student must be in grades kindergarten – 12th grade
  • Student must have consistent, daily access to the Internet
When is the deadline to enroll in Huntsville Virtual Academy?

The deadline to enroll is July 24, 2020.

When can a student change from virtual to traditional or vice-versa?

We ask for Huntsville Virtual Academy students to commit to a minimum of one semester. Changes in enrollment can be made at the beginning of a new semester.

Can magnet students enroll in HVA?

There will be a variety of virtual options for magnet students. Please contact the Office of Magnet Programs by email at magnet@hsv-k12.org or by phone at (256) 428-6987.

Can magnet students participate in athletics while enrolled in HVA?

Yes, magnet students are still able to participate in athletics under the previously set guidelines. 

Are Pre-K students eligible for Huntsville Virtual Academy?

Pre-K students are not offered the virtual option per guidance from the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. 

Can students participate in specialized courses, extracurrilcular activities, and/or athletics?

Yes, Virtual Academy students can participate in athletics & extracurricular activities at their zoned school. The guidelines of AHSAA will be followed for all athletics.  Students who wish to participate in highly specialized courses, extracurriculars, or athletics should contact their home or magnet school to make arrangements for participating.

Can magnet students participate in clubs and/or magnet-specific extracurricular activities virtually?

Yes, each program will determine how the virtual student can participate in all magnet activities based on scheduling.

Does the HVA have any extracurricular or sports programs?

HVA students may participate in athletic and extracurricular programs at their zoned school. If a high school requires students to take specific athletic or fitness and conditioning courses, then participating HVA students will be required to take these classes on site as well.

Will my student lose their M2M transfer if they choose to enroll in HVA?

No, the M2M transfer will remain.  HVA students will remain as students in their M2M transfer school while attending HVA.

Curriculum & Instruction
What will class sizes look like in HVA?

Our goal is to create virtual classes that are similar to the traditional classroom size, based on student enrollment numbers in the Huntsville Virtual Academy. 

What grade levels are offered?

The Huntsville Virtual Academy will serve students Kindergarten through twelfth grade.

What does teaching and learning look like in HVA?

Students will log in to a learning management system to view coursework, engage in learning modules, watch instructional videos, engage with teachers and classmates, and complete assignments.

What learning management system (LMS) will be used for HVA? 

Schoology will be the district’s LMS for both traditional and virtual students. However, virtual students will access SchoolsPLP as well, an instructional resource to compliment teacher instruction. 

How does the virtual curriculum align with traditional curriculum?

Both the traditional and virtual curriculum are aligned with Alabama College and Career Ready standards.

How does the pacing in HVA work?

Assignments will be posted weekly giving students the opportunity to work at their own pace.

Will HVA instruction be live or recorded?

Both. For elementary students, students will have the choice to frequently engage in live learning with teachers and classmates. Secondary students may have the ability to engage in live instruction with teachers and classmates. In addition to live learning, teachers will also pre-record video lessons for students to watch as well. Students will have the ability to watch any live learning opportunities they may have missed. 

Will students be able to view instruction and complete assignments at different times?

Students can view recorded lessons once the lessons have been uploaded in Schoology.  Lessons will be available for viewing after the lessons have been conducted in real time sessions. Students can complete and submit assignments at different times. However, these assignments must be submitted by the due date issued by the classroom teacher.

Are Huntsville Virtual Academy teachers employees of Huntsville City Schools?

Yes. All lessons will be delivered internally by Huntsville City Schools teachers. 

How much interaction will my child have with the classroom teacher and in-school students?

Students will interact with the HVA teacher at least three times per week per subject during interactive instructional meetings and small group instruction time periods. In addition, the teacher will provide office hours for students to provide academic support or answer student and parent questions. HVA students will interact with other virtual students in the same online class through interactive instructional meetings.

Will HVA teachers be available to answer questions from students?

Yes. Teachers will host office hours in addition to engaging in live instruction with students for additional support. Unless the Remote Learning Framework is implemented, HVA teachers will teach from inside a school building. 

What will be the home school for HVA Students?
  • Students will continue to attend their zoned school unless on an eligible transfer.
  • Students will be enrolled at their zoned school regardless of traditional student or virtual student status.
  • The application window for Majority-to-Minority transfers for 2020-21 is currently closed. The application window for 2021-22 will open November 15th for traditional and virtual students.
Will my student have a teacher from my home school in HVA?

Students will be provided instruction by an assigned Huntsville City Schools teacher (HCS).  However, there is a possibility a student will have an HVA teacher from his/her homeschool when possible.

Will students be grouped by school in HVA virtual option?

Students will be placed in grade level groups and provided instruction by an assigned HCS teacher. The district will make every attempt possible to include students from the same school and grade level in a class together when possible.

Will HVA students be able to log in and interact with other students?

Yes. Elementary students may frequently engage in live learning activities with a teacher and their classmates. Secondary students will have that ability as well, but students will have more flexibility to work at their own pace. 

Are HVA students required to take state assessments?

Yes, all HVA students are required to take state mandated assessments on site at their zoned school.

What happens if a student fails a course?

To recover the credit, students may be required to attend summer school. All courses attempted or completed will be recorded on the student’s transcript and calculated in the cumulative GPA.

How many credits per year are HVA high school students required to take?

High school students are required to take at least eight credits per year. Four of the seven credits must be core classes (math, science, English, and social studies) unless the student has accumulated more core credits than is required for the student to remain on track for graduation. Students may be allowed to earn additional credits, not to exceed ten per year.

Do HVA students have face-to-face on-site requirements?

Yes, HVA students have face-to-face obligations for state-mandated assessments.  State mandated tests are taken on the campus of the school for which the student is zoned.

Will AP courses be offered?

Yes, students will be able to take AP courses through the Huntsville Virtual Academy.

Will HVA students be able to go to their home schools for elective classes?

Yes.

FuelEd & Edgenuity
How was the decision to use FuelEd and Edgenuity made?

While Schoology & SchoolsPLP will continue to be used, school administrators and teachers identified several limitations with those products.  FuelEd and Edgenuity were added as additional options for schools.  The content platforms will not take the place of direct teacher instruction for traditional or HVA students.

Why did the district choose to utilize Edgenuity?

Edgenuity has several academic offerings. which included courses designed for blended learning and separate courses for credit recovery.  The courses are approved by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) and the NCAA.

Why doesn't the district just use FuelEd for all of K-12?

There are several factors in this decision, including finance, teacher usage, and student enrollment.  Edgenuity allows for more flexibility at the secondary level and will allow HCS teachers to continue instruction of all courses, including specialty courses offered by HCS, for both HVA and traditional students.

Will teachers and administrators receive training for these products?

Trainings will be held in September for administrators and teachers before these products are used.

Will HVA students still be able to work at their own pace?

Yes.

Will HVA students continue to be taught through live lessons?

Yes.

Will HVA students keep the same teachers when traditional students return?

Yes, however this will occur at the building level.  Some schedules may change based on enrollment and teacher assignments.

What impact will FuelEd & Edgenuity have on teacher instruction?

The teacher will still be the primary source of instruction.  There are a few students who will have independent study courses, and both Edgenuity and ACCESS will be used in those cases.  However, HCS teachers will continue to conduct their classes.

How will implementation of FuelEd and Edgenuity affect HVA students who transition to in-person learning?

All courses will follow HCS curriculum guides, which will allow for a seamless transition back to the classroom setting.

Why were these platforms released to schools so close to students returning?

HCS released the platforms to schools as quickly as possible after receiving them from the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).

Does this new curriculum lend itself to diversified instruction for gifted students?

GATE services are continuing primarily remotely to help reduce the number of people our students are exposed to and the services are continuous over the course of the week. Students will receive lessons in ELA, Math, and Creativity at the beginning of the week, meet as a group with their GATE teacher online once a week, and have the opportunity to meet with the GATE teacher one-on-one or in small groups during the GATE teacher's office hours, which are offered multiple times over the course of the week. We are accommodating our GATE students when they are out of the regular classroom by giving classroom teachers the option of using the ELA or Math assignments as a grade. Students will not be required to make up missed work when they are out of the regular classroom attending GATE.

Gifted & Talented Education (GATE)
Will HVA have GATE services?

Yes, HVA will provide GATE services to identified students via Schoology. These services will be aligned with those offered in traditional school with an emphasis on alternate, accelerated activities in ELA and Math. Teachers assigned to support the HVA caseload will meet virtually with students to support completion of alternate, accelerated assignments.

How often will my child receive GATE services in HVA versus traditional learning?

Gifted identified students will receive an equivalent number of alternate activities to follow state guidelines of three hours per week whether attending school traditionally or virtually. Gifted teachers will “push in” to traditional classrooms and meet virtually with HVA students to support students completing alternate, accelerated activities. Activities designed to build skills in creativity will be offered virtually.

Can my child be tested for GATE if attending HVA?

Yes, students attending HVA can be referred and tested. Assessments will be administered virtually and at Apollo Academy at 2800 Poplar Avenue.

My child is in second grade. How will the universal screening for GATE services be completed at HVA?

All second-grade child find assessments for GATE services will be administered virtually and at Apollo Academy at 2800 Poplar Avenue.

Can my child attend HVA but go to in-person GATE at our neighborhood school?

Since the HVA students are assigned to the different caseload of the HVA gifted teacher, they can’t attend in-person GATE at their neighborhood school. They will attend the HVA GATE teacher’s classes virtually.

Which teacher will my child have for GATE in HVA?

Teachers across HCS, whose caseloads are smaller, will assume the HVA gifted caseload.

What will be taught in HVA GATE?

ELA, Math, and Creativity.

How will high flyers and gifted students be challenged if they attend classes via HVA?

HVA gifted students and advanced learners will have access to the districtwide enrichment clusters in addition to alternate, accelerated activities offered by the HVA GATE teachers. In addition, the HVA GATE teacher is available as a consultant to the HVA teachers to assist with challenging options for students.

Graduation
Does a HVA student receive a Huntsville City Schools diploma?

Yes, HVA students receive a Huntsville City Schools diploma from their zoned school and participate in graduation with their zoned school.

Are HVA students permitted to graduate early?

Yes, students are permitted to accelerate their high school course progression. The HVA operates as a nine-month program (fall and spring terms). Students are allowed to take additional courses under the condition that they maintain the minimum pace across all currently enrolled courses. Students that graduate early have the option to participate in the graduation ceremony of the academic year coursework is completed. Students must submit the Early or Midyear Completion form with a parent’s signature no later than the semester prior to midyear completion.  This form may be obtained from the grade level school counselor.

Can an HVA student be an honor graduate?

Yes, students enrolled in the HVA are eligible for honor graduate recognition with Huntsville City Schools.

Back to top