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6. General Educational Philosophy

6.1 Teachers

The teachers at the Virtual High School will emphasize that students actively inquire into and make connections between ideas and subject areas. A variety of teaching methods will be used including;

  • direct instruction via structured lessons and activities,
  • differentiated instruction to meet the diverse learning needs of students,
  • scaffolded instruction to promote greater independence in the learning process,
  • opportunities to collaboratively construct knowledge through discussions and reflection, and
  • personalized and comprehensive assessments.

6.2 Curriculum

Virtual High School courses are constructed using a backward design approach with the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum expectations as the starting point for all instruction and assessment. The curriculum at Virtual High School will deal with real-life applications of student learning as much as possible. The curriculum expectations are stated as clear objectives that have been broken down into achievable targets and are transparent to students in each lesson and assessment. We focus on educating the whole student and cultivating digital citizens by giving students opportunities to think critically and creatively, solve complex problems, and communicate well.

6.3 Students

Each student at Virtual High School will be treated as an individual and encouraged to express their own opinions and ideas.

  • The teachers at Virtual High School will be aware of the learning styles of their students as much as possible, in order to use strategies most effectively in the learning process.
  • Opportunities will exist for all students to be successful by providing them with the opportunities to seek extra help, to have large complex tasks broken into manageable chunks, to have regular scheduled student conferencing with the course teacher and to have clear standards for evaluations.
  • Students must respect the intellectual property rights of others.

6.4 Assessment and Evaluation

A wide variety of assessment and evaluation tools will be used at Virtual High School including quizzes, tests, projects, essays, journals and final assessments.

  • A variety of assessment and evaluation devices will be used by the teacher and the student.
  • The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning.
  • In the Introduction Unit of each course, the student will be made aware of the assessment and evaluation process and subsequent criteria.
  • Regular communication with parents is available upon request and will provide them with pertinent information on student progress for students under 18 and for students over 18 who have given permission to VHS to discuss their education with their parents.
  • Careful tracking of the student's progress with respect to the expectations is the shared responsibility of both the student and the teacher.
  • Identified Special Education students must have their learning differentiated according to the students' Individual Education Plan.
  • Rubrics will be used by teachers regularly and consistently.

6.5 Exceptional Students

Recognizing the needs of exceptional students and designing an online program to respond effectively to these needs is what we do at VHS. Documentation outlining a student’s specific areas of strength and need, such as an Individual Education Plan (IEP), can be provided to VHS for a VHS IEP to be created. A VHS IEP identifies a student’s specific learning expectations and outlines how the school will address these expectations through appropriate accommodations within their online courses. Applying the IEP, VHS will implement those capabilities of the system which will be particularly appropriate in meeting the student’s needs. Assignments and activities within the online courses take into account the strengths, needs, learning expectations, and accommodations identified in the student’s IEP.