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Onboarding New DCA Students

Welcome to the DCA!

Students new to the DCA will be enrolled in an orientation course in Schoology that they must complete before beginning any coursework.

Are you a new parent/guardian of a DCA student? We've created this nearby onboarding presentation that guides students and parents through some important tasks in Schoology, Infinite Campus, and Zoom. 

We strongly encourage students and their families to review this entire onboarding presentation prior to starting in the DCA!

New to the DCA? Start here!

DCA Zoom Schedules

Middle school Zooms in the DCA are required for all students. If students are unable to attend live Zooms, the parents/guardians can fill out a Personalized Learning Agreement where students watch the recordings. Please contact cyberacademy@dasd.org to ask for this agreement.

High school Zooms in the DCA are optional. 

For a complete list of Zoom times, please view this spreadsheet and click on the grade on the bottom tabs.

DCA Welcome Letter for Students and Their Families

July 28, 2023

Dear Downingtown Cyber Academy (DCA) Families,

It is with a great deal of enthusiasm that we welcome you to the 2023-2024 school year! We hope that you are having a wonderful and safe summer! Soon students will be preparing to return to school and we are happy that they have chosen the DCA as either a full-time or part-time (1 or more classes) learning opportunity.

In a couple of weeks, you will receive more detailed information about what the DCA online learning environment will entail to ensure that our students are meeting with success. Below, you will find some important information and dates to add to your family’s calendar.

Important Information:

Brandywine Virtual Academy (BVA) Partnership
(Grades K-5 ONLY) We are partnering with the Brandywine Virtual Academy (BVA) within the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) to provide instruction and teachers for students in grades K-5 who wish to learn online. Students will follow the school year calendar provided by the BVA. We will confirm registration, send additional information regarding expectations and program-specific information, and answer any questions you may have regarding the program by early August.

Online Learning Expectations: 
If a Zoom meeting is scheduled during school hours, it will be required for students in grades 6-8 to attend. Students MUST turn on their cameras and actively engage in Zoom sessions. Zoom meetings are optional, but highly encouraged for students in grades 9-12.

Personalized Learning Plan Agreements:
Grades 6-8 ONLY Families can opt out of Zooms via a Personalized Learning Plan Agreement signed by the parent/guardian, student, and principal, AND they MUST maintain good academic standing. We will send home more information about the Personalized Learning Plan Agreement before school begins.

Attendance:
Grades 6-12: Students will be required to complete attendance check-Ins in Infinite Campus for any letter day on which they have a DCA class. It is very important that students complete these check-Ins to ensure they are marked present and to avoid the automated truancy letter for absences. The DCA provides a more flexible schedule for students. However, students are still expected to complete work each week. Students who do not complete any work in their classes over the course of a week (assignments, discussion board posts, etc.) from Monday - Sunday will be contacted and possibly deemed absent for the week. If students cannot complete work for a week (e.g., participating in a competition), the parent/guardian should contact cyber_attendance@dasd.org before the event.

Instructional Schedules:
Elementary Students will have the option of a synchronous/asynchronous or asynchronous-only learning option through the Brandywine Virtual Academy (BVA). Students who select the synchronous/asynchronous learning option will be expected to log onto Zooms at each morning for teacher-led activities and will have asynchronous classes and work to complete in the afternoon. Students who select the asynchronous-only option will work independently and can access support from the staff as needed. More information regarding the schedule will be provided in mid-August.

Middle School Students will have scheduled Zooms based on their individual class schedule. Students will have required synchronous (Zoom) sessions at least 2-3 times per cycle for most classes. (Some encore classes will hold optional Zooms after school.) Students will also have work to complete asynchronously. Students can find their scheduled Zooms in their Schoology calendars and in Infinite Campus.

High School Students will complete work asynchronously, but teachers will have scheduled Zooms 1-2x per cycle for office hours. Students can find their scheduled Zooms in their Schoology calendars and in Infinite Campus. There will also be a virtual drop-in center for students to get extra help on any core subjects on C and F days.

Devices:
K-7th Grade Students - Students will use a Chromebook. Information about picking up the Chromebook will be sent home to new families by the Technology Department.

8th Grade Students - Students will continue to use their iPad. Information about picking up a device will be sent home to new families by the Technology Department.

9th-12th Grade Students - Students will use laptops. 9th graders should have already received information from the Technology Department about picking up their laptops.

Materials:
Students may have materials to pick up, such as textbooks, art supplies, etc. from either their home building or the Central Administration building. Information about materials pickup will be sent home prior to the start of school.

Orientation 

Elementary: The BVA will host orientation for students on the first day of school. Check out this link to navigate the asynchronous Elementary Orientation on their website - https://www.cciu.org/domain/387BVA 2023-2024 Calendar.

Secondary: All students in grades 6-12 will be required to complete an asynchronous Student Orientation by the end of the first week of school. It is highly suggested that students complete it prior to the start of the school year. It will be shared via email by mid-August and will also be accessible in any DCA Schoology Course once school begins.

We are excited about the opportunity to work with you and your child(ren) and look forward to the partnership between home and school that we will have this school year. If you have any questions about any of the above information, please email us at cyberacademy@dasd.org. Enjoy the rest of your summer!!

Sincerely, 

Dr. Kecia Nesmith, Principal
Dr. Kristie Burk, Coordinator of Online & Blended Learning