AIKEN iNNOVATE
  • The application process for AIKEN iNNOVATE opened on July 9th and closed at midnight on July 22nd. The window was widely communicated through all communications channels. At this time, we are not taking additional applications. If you have access to a computer and reliable internet service and wish to place your student on a waiting list, please email powerschool@acpsd.net and provide the student’s name, current school, grade, and date of birth. Please know there are no guarantees that we will be able to accommodate those that are on the waitlist, however we want to offer this option in the event a space should become available.

AIKEN iNNOVATE DISTRICT GUIDEBOOK

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AIKEN iNNOVATE

  • Aiken County Public Schools (ACPSD) is an experienced leader in high-quality virtual education. ACPSD is not only the state's largest VirtualSC franchise, we were also the first school District in the state to develop our own virtual program in partnership and as a franchisee of VirtualSC. Through AIKEN iNNOVATE (also referred to as Ai) our District is excited to expand our virtual offerings to include our award-winning Aiken County Virtual Academy (ACVA) for high school students by adding an option for full-time virtual learning at home for all students, kindergarten through 12th grade. 

    ALL students, including those who will be enrolled in AIKEN iNNOVATE, are required to complete Student Registration. If you haven't already registered your student(s) for the 2020-2021 school year through our Parent Portal, please click on the words "STUDENT REGISTRATION" and take care of that requirement. Knowing student numbers is critical to our Back-to-School planning, PPE ordering, physical distancing efforts, etc. 

    Through AIKEN iNNOVATE, ACPSD will provide an online collaborative learning environment that promotes high-quality, personalized learning. Please note that there is a deadline of Wednesday, July 22, to enroll in AIKEN iNNOVATE. 

    If you have questions about AIKEN iNNOVATE before indicating your commitment (before Wednesday, July 22), please email those to InnovativePrograms@acpsd.net. And, when you are ready, please click on the words "AIKEN iNNOVATE" to complete a form for each student you wish to enroll in our full-time virtual option. 

    WHAT TO EXPECT

    Parents/Guardians who select Ai as their choice for returning to school can expect to have direct instruction provided virtually by local teachers certified in the specific course and/or grade level who are 100% dedicated to online teaching and learning. Students will engage in scheduled virtual meetings, collaborative discussions, and assignments involving interactive resources that are completed at home. 

    Enrolling a student in AIKEN iNNOVATE will require the commitment of a student's parent/guardian to ensure that the student is successful in the fully-virtual program, especially at the elementary and middle school levels. 

    Students receiving their education through AIKEN iNNOVATE will remain fully-enrolled in their regular school, with all opportunities available to them such as extra-curricular activities, clubs, plays, graduation, etc. The student-teacher relationship is critical to all learning environments. The unique ability for ACPSD's own teachers to create, sustain and nurture relationships with our local students in a digital environment have been critical to the success of ACPSD's virtual offerings.

    Ai FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS 

    Aiken County Virtual Academy (ACVA), our high school subsidiary of AIKEN iNNOVATE, is a franchise of VirtualSC.  Students enrolled in ACVA participate in courses designed by VirtualSC, but facilitated by our local, content specific, certified teacher specialists.  ACVA offers accredited courses with access to academic advisement and college planning through assigned guidance counselors from a student’s brick and mortar home school. 

    Graduates earn a standard high school diploma from their home-based school accepted by colleges, universities, and other postsecondary programs. High school students will be expected to attend virtual sessions daily. Assignments will be deadline driven with distinct deadlines each week. Office hours, virtual small group or one-on-one instruction with the student's Ai teacher will also be available. 

    Instructional materials and resources will be delivered through Moodle, Virtual SC’s Learning Management System. Virtual teachers will provide direct instruction that includes face-to-face virtual connections and collaboration through Office 365 Teams based on a weekly schedule. Virtual assignments are not self-paced, but are deadline driven with distinct due dates each week. Scheduled office hours and virtual small group or one-on-one instruction with teachers.

    Generally, students are expected to enroll in 7 credits (minimum of 4 credits for Seniors) to be considered full-time

    ACVA Courses include:
    ◦ Core Content courses for ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies (some Honors courses
    available)
    ◦ World Languages (French, German, and Spanish)
    ◦ PE/Health
    ◦ Select AP courses
    ◦ Select Exploratory courses
    ◦ Select CTE

    Every effort will be made to meet the scheduling needs of our students through a virtual option. Please scroll down to "High School Offerings" for a list of courses available.  

    Ai FOR ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS 

    Elementary and Middle School students will be assigned a local virtual teacher that holds current certification in their appropriate level. Instructional materials and resources will be delivered through Schoology, our district's Learning Management System, with links to other district supported digital learning tools. Ai teachers will provide direct instruction that includes face-to-face virtual connections and collaboration through Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams based on a daily schedule. Students will be expected to attend virtual sessions daily. Assignments will be deadline driven with distinct deadlines each week. Office hours, virtual small group or one-on-one instruction with the student's Ai teacher will also be available. Please see below for a list of Elementary and Middle School Course offerings. 

     

COMMITMENT

  • Due to staffing, technology allocations, and curriculum planning necessary to offer students/families a full-time virtual education option, choosing to enroll in AIKEN iNNOVATE is a semester commitment. Ai will be available to all students who choose full-time virtual learning for just a semester, and those who may decide to continue virtually for the remainder of their educational career. 

    ALL students, including those who will be enrolled in AIKEN iNNOVATE, are required to complete Student Registration. If you haven't already registered your student(s) for the 2020-2021 school year through our Parent Portal, please click on the words "STUDENT REGISTRATION" and take care of that requirement. Knowing student numbers is critical to our Back-to-School planning, PPE ordering, physical distancing efforts, etc. 

    If you have questions about AIKEN iNNOVATE before indicating your commitment (before Wednesday, July 22), please email those to InnovativePrograms@acpsd.net. And, when you are ready, please click on the words "AIKEN iNNOVATE" to complete a form for each student you wish to enroll in AIKEN iNNOVATE. 

    We thank you for sharing your family's virtual education decision with us and look forward to serving your student and family.

TECHNOLOGY

  • A laptop and internet access is necessary for virtual learning. ACPSD has placed an expedited order for student laptops. We are aware, however, that the demand for student laptops is larger than currently available supplies nationwide. Students without access to a home computer/laptop will be issued laptops first. If your student has a laptop, we ask that you please indicate that on the Enrollment Form, and allow us to issue laptops to students without devices first.

TECHNOLOGY FEES

  • Fees are standardized for all students (virtual and in-person). There are no additional fees to participate in AIKEN iNNOVATE.

    ACPSD's (annual) Student Registration Fee is $40 for elementary students, $45 for middle school students, and $65 for high school. In addition, families issued laptops and/or internet hot spots will pay a Student Technology Fee (if applicable*). The (annual) Student Technology Fee is $50 for a household's first student +$25 for each additional student.

    Laptops and hot spots (for internet access) will be provided to any AIKEN iNNOVATE student who does not have a desktop/laptop computer and/or home internet that can be utilized for virtual learning during the school day. Technology Fees are needed for technology insurance on devices and will be applicable to all ACPSD students, including those enrolled in AIKEN iNNOVATE and students grades 3-12 (who will receive a laptop for hybrid learning).

    *Students/families enrolled in AIKEN iNNOVATE who do not request a laptop or hot spot for internet will not be assessed Technology Fees (and will only be responsible for Student Registration Fees).

    Please note that Student Registration Fees and Technology Fees are waived for students/families in need. Families will be asked to indicate financial need for a fee waiver on the Enrollment Form. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Please see below for a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding AIKEN iNNOVATE.

    Q: If I submit the survey registering my child for AIKEN Innovate (Ai), do I have to complete the school registration process at their home school? Yes. Only Aiken County Public School District (ACPSD) students can participate in AIKEN iNNOVATE. All students selecting to participate in Ai must also complete the school registration process to be an ACPSD student. We will not be able to finalize the enrollment process for Ai if you have not completed the school registration process for your child.

    Q: When will I receive confirmation that my child is registred for AIKEN iNNOVATE? If you have submitted a survey for AIKEN iNNOVATE, you should receive an email confirmation. Our team of curriculum support personnel and school counselors will begin contacting families following the July 23rd deadline to finalize course enrollment in Ai.

    Q: Will instruction offered through AIKEN iNNOVATE be directly aligned with the same curriculum that is being taught in the classroom setting? The curriculum for our elementary and middle school Ai courses will be 100% aligned to ACPSD curriculum. Our virtual course designers, which include ACPSD teachers and content interventionists, are working now to develop the instructional materials and resources for Ai K-8 courses. Instruction received through Ai K-8 will follow the same pacing and sequencing as the brick and mortar classrooms. High school courses offered through ACVA will be VirtualSC courses facilitated by ACPSD teachers. These high school courses will align to the VirtualSC pacing and sequencing, which may not directly align to the ACPSD curriculum maps but will cover the same standards and instructional material over the course of a school year.

    Q: Will the students in Ai follow the normal school hours for their virtual instruction? Live virtual sessions will occur during the normal school day but will not include students logged into a computer for the entire day. Daily schedules will include 2-5 live sessions depending on the age group. These schedules with specific times will be finalized once virtual teachers have been assigned to classes.

    Q: What next steps can I expect if I have submitted the survey for my child to participate in AIKEN iNNOVATE? If you have submitted a survey for AIKEN iNNOVATE, you should receive an email confirmation. Our team of curriculum support personnel and school counselors will begin contacting families following the July 23rd deadline to finalize course enrollment in Ai.

    Q: Will AIKEN iNNOVATE be similar to the distance learning that students completed at the end of the 2019/2020 school year from home? No. AIKEN iNNOVATE will be 100% virtual learning. Students will engage in live virtual sessions and complete fully digital assignments. There will be no paper/pencil packets for AIKEN iNNOVATE. For elementary and middle school students, all instructional materials will be housed in Schoology, our district’s learning management system. High school courses through ACVA will run through Moodle, Virtual SC’s learning management system. All student work will be submitted and graded through the appropriate learning management systems. Grades will be recorded in both the learning management system and in PowerSchool, the school district’s storage system for grades.

    Q: Will the students be provided devices for virtual learning? ​Parents are able to indicate a need for assistance with digital devices in the registration form. We are making every effort to provide the digital necessities where possible for our families.  

    Q: Will students who sign up for AIKEN iNNOVATE have to remain in virtual learning for the entire school year? AIKEN iNNOVATE will run for the entire 2020-2021 school year, and we are asking for a commitment of one semester for students selecting the full-time virtual option. However, in January Ai students will have the option to return to their home-based school if space allows or continue as a full-time virtual student through AIKEN iNNOVATE.

    Q: Are there certain times during the day that students will have to be online? Do they have to be on for the duration of a regular school day?​ There will be a daily schedule for each level, but students will not be spending the entire day in front of a computer. 

    Elementary- Students will have a daily morning meeting (10-20 minutes) plus multiple live sessions scheduled throughout the day (20-40 minutes each). These live sessions will include direct instruction for core content and assigned small group instruction and targeted intervention.

    Middle school- Students will have 3-5 live virtual sessions (30-60 minutes) each day depending on their course load. 

    High school- Students have more flexibility, but more responsibility in their virtual learning. They will have at least one live session per week for each of their courses, but the majority of their learning will be self-driven through completion of assigned learning tasks and assignments. They will have weekly due dates for each assignment and will have to stay on track to meet deadlines. However, they will also have the ability to work ahead should they wish to do so.

    In addition to the live virtual sessions, students will have daily independent work to complete. This work could include viewing pre-recording instructional videos or PowerPoints with voice overlay, independent reading, creating documents, completing paper pencil work from textbooks (issued through the home school), or completing tasks interactive computer programs such as Edmentum. It is recommended that time in between live virtual sessions be dedicated to completing independent work. 

    Q: Will my child be able to participate in activities provided by the school such as sports and Band? Yes. Students participating in the full-time virtual option through AIKEN iNNOVATE will have the option to participate in extra curricular activities at their home-based school.

    Q: What is the teacher/student ratio for a virtual class? Will they have the same virtual teacher for the entire semester? Class sizes will follow state and district policies. The elementary student to teacher ratio will be approximately 25:1; middle and high school will be limited to approximately 150:1. Unless there are unforeseen circumstances, students would have the same teacher for the entire semester.