Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions and answers will help you become more familiar with Virtual Campus and how it can help earn a diploma from Des Moines Public Schools.
What is online learning?
It includes learning with the assistance of the Internet and a personal computer. The term e-learning, or electronic learning, often is used interchangeably with online learning.
What will the virtual learning experience look like for my student?
Courses will be a combination of synchronous (“live”) and asynchronous (“student-directed”) learning opportunities. Similar to this past school year, all courses will use Microsoft Teams and Canvas as the primary online platforms.
All students will participate in a regularly scheduled Advisory course where they will receive Virtual Campus announcements, build relationships with staff and peers, receive supports and intervention as needed, etc.
Teachers will be accessible to students outside of the virtual classroom through scheduled in-person office hours. Students will be able to meet with teachers individually or in small groups as needed during this time.
Will students receive training on how to use the Canvas Platform for online learning?
Yes, students will take Canvas 101 prior to engaging in Virtual Campus coursework in their student orientation.
What will be offered at Virtual Campus in the 2021-22 school year?
HS: Course offerings at VIRTUAL CAMPUS will be based on student requests. Students will have the ability to request most of the same courses they do in a comprehensive HS setting, including the four core subjects, AP courses, electives in art, world language, business, technology education, family and consumer science, and physical education, as well as ELL and Special Education courses. While students will be able to indicate their interest by requesting these courses, only courses that have enough student interest to warrant a full section will be offered.
MS: Students in grades 6-8 will take English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Music Appreciation, and an exploratory extended core wheel that includes Business/Technology, Health, Art, and Spanish. ELL and SPED courses will be available as needed.
How many classes can my student take while attending Virtual Campus?
A full-time student is one who takes at least 4 courses/2.0 credits a semester. It is important that students maintain full-time status to remain eligible for a number of assistance services and to stay on track for high school graduation. Students can take up to 6 classes maximum (3.0 Credits) a semester.
Since Virtual Campus runs in a 4×4 schedule, students will take 3-4 courses in 9 week terms at the high school level. In middle school, students will take 5 courses in a 9 week term.
What will the schedule look like? Will Virtual Campus continue with 9-week terms?
HS: The schedule will consist of four 9-week terms. Students will take 3-4 courses each term. Courses will be scheduled for approximately 90 minutes per day and will consist of a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction during that time.
MS: The schedule will consist of four 9-week terms. Students will take Math and English daily for the entire year. Science and Social Studies will be taken for two terms each. Phys Ed and Music will be taken in alternate terms for the full year and students will take one of the exploratory wheel offerings each term. Depending on the subject, courses will be scheduled for approximately 90 or 45 minutes daily.
Does my student still get the same holiday breaks as a traditional classroom student?
Yes, a Virtual Campus student will follow the same school calendar the district follows for a DMPS student.
Where can I see my student’s grades?
There will be a section on Canvas for students to keep up on their scores for assignments, but all final grades will be found and recorded on Infinite Campus.
Can my student attend any college or university after graduating from an online school?
Yes! Virtual Campus thrives itself on providing a quality rigorous online education that compares to a brick and motor school, just in a different modality! You will graduate with a DMPS high school diploma!
How will graduation and other senior activities look?
There will be a Virtual Campus Graduation Ceremony, along with other senior events/activities. More details on these events will be forthcoming soon.
Students who complete HS at Virtual Campus will receive a full high school diploma listing Virtual Campus as the institution of record.
If I enroll my student at Virtual Campus, how long is the commitment?
Students enrolling at Virtual Campus are effectively transferring out of their address-assigned school and into Virtual Campus. Like current within district transfer requests, the commitment for Virtual Campus will be for a minimum period of the 2021-2022 academic year. This is done to avoid disruptions to a student’s educational program and allow the district to properly assess staffing needs for all schools. Part of the Virtual Campus enrollment form that must be completed to initiate the transfer/enrollment process includes a contract acknowledging this commitment and agreeing to the year-long duration.
Because of the difficulties involved in scheduling individual classes, middle and high school students may only discontinue their participation at the conclusion of the school year.
What technology resources and supports will be provided to students and families?
Students will receive a laptop, charger, and laptop bag. If students have their own device, they may elect to use that, but no district technology supports will be in place should the device stop working. We strongly encourage students to use the district-provided laptops to limit software issues in accessing school-related programs.
Assistance in getting internet access is available if needed. Students will have access to technology support and troubleshooting via the Technology Family/Student Support Center (515-242-8221).
For more details on troubleshooting and technology supports, please see the student device guide found here: Student Device Guide
What does communication look like from teacher to student in an online setting?
Communication can be received in a variety of ways in Virtual Campus. Through discussions, messages, emails, phone calls, video conferencing, Microsoft Teams, or face to face by appointment during teacher’s office hours.
What if my student needs extra help?
There are many ways Virtual Campus can provide additional support:
- Meet with teacher/counselor during set office hours/make an appointment
- Academic Counselor available
- Microsoft Teams
- Collaboration opportunities with other students
Does my student still have to take state and district wide assessments?
Yes, all students are still required to take part in all state-wide district assessments. Virtual Campus will have space available to take all required state and district assessments.
Will virtual students have access to Central Campus and Academy courses?
Virtual Campus students will be able to take courses at Central Campus and/or Central Academy.
HS: Students wanting to take courses at Central Campus will be able to do so and will go through the regular course request process for these programs. Students wanting to take courses at Central Academy will be able to do so and will go through the regular course request process for these courses. Similar to how Central Campus and Academy scheduling works in the current comprehensive HS’s, Virtual Campus students may need to be scheduled for specific periods at CC/CA in order to make their schedule work properly. Schedules for Virtual Campus students who attend CC/CA will be resolved by counselors during the scheduling process.
MS: 7th and 8th graders who are selected to participate in Central Academy programming will be able to do so. Virtual Campus Counselors will adjust student schedules as required to make this possible.
Will student services be available for students identified with IEPs, 504, ELL, and GT?
Virtual Campus students will have access to all student services they would typically receive at their home school, including: Special Education services, English Language Learner supports, 504 Plan accommodations, and Gifted & Talented supports.
Students with an IEP requesting to transfer to Virtual Campus next school year are required to have a formal IEP meeting to review accommodations and ensure that Virtual Campus is able to meet the individual student’s needs.
Will virtual students be able to participate in extracurricular activities like band, choir, and sports?
Students enrolled at Virtual Campus will be able to participate in extracurricular athletics and activities offered at their address-assigned school, assuming they meet eligibility requirements to do so.
Performing arts ensembles, such as Band, Orchestra, or Choir, that are formal classes will NOT be offered at Virtual Campus. If offered as an extracurricular activity rather than an official class, Virtual Campus students may participate in those at their address-assigned school.
If an open-enrolled student, this student may participate in up to 2 sports/activities at their home attendance high school!
How do I enroll my future 6th-8th grader at Virtual Campus for the 2021-2022 school year?
For students who will be in grades 6-8 for the 2021-2022 school year, families may apply to enroll their student at Virtual Campus by completing the Virtual Campus Enrollment Application Form that can be found here:
There are a limited number of spots for MS students at Virtual Campus for the 2021-2022 school year. Once the application period has concluded, requests to transfer to virtual will be reviewed and processed. Families will be notified of the approval or denial of their application at that time.
Once approved, the student’s enrollment will be transferred to Virtual Campus and they will be scheduled into the appropriate courses based on their grade-level and individual scheduling needs.
How do I enroll my future 9th-12th grade student at Virtual Campus for the 2021-2022 school year?
For students who will be in grades 9-12 for the 2021-2022 school year, families may enroll their student at Virtual Campus by completing the Virtual Campus Enrollment Form that can be found here:
All HS students who complete the necessary form and contract will be transferred to Virtual Campus for the 21-22 school year. Their requested courses will transfer with them from their address-assigned school and a Virtual Campus counselor or staff member will reach out if there are any issues with their course requests or schedule.
Who do I contact for questions and more information about Virtual Campus?
Heather Menninga -Executive Project Assistant – call 515-242-8483 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org