Department of Defense Education Activity

Virtual Option

DoDEA will offer a full-time virtual school option for students in Grades K-12

virtual class

DoDEA will offer a virtual option for families and students for the second semester of school year (SY) 2020-21. DoDEA recognizes that students and families with health vulnerabilities related to COVID-19 may still have concerns about returning to school. To support all students, DoDEA will continue to operate full-time in-person schools and also provide a full-time virtual learning option for grades K–12 students. Parents will have the option to choose the best academic environment for their family for second semester. Parents that choose to enroll their students in the Virtual School option must agree to remain for the full semester.

Families may choose to remain in their current learning environment (in-person or virtual) or they may choose to transition to a different learning environment (virtual to in-person or in-person to virtual). The enrollment period will begin on Thursday, October 15 and remain open through Friday, November 6. This three week period will allow for parents with students currently in DVS to have first quarter report cards and a parent-teacher-conference prior to committing to DVS for the second semester.

When will the 2nd Semester of Virtual School begin?

Students who are enrolled in the virtual option, regardless of location in the world, will follow the established calendar for the existing DoDEA Virtual High school. The end of the semester for in person learning is January 14, 2021. The end of the first semester for virtual school is January 13th. Families who chose to move from in person learning to virtual school will return to in person learning after the winter break and transition to the virtual platform at the beginning of the 2nd Semester on January 19th. Likewise , families who chose to move from virtual learning to in person will resume virtual learning on January 4th and will transition to the brick and mortar school setting on January 19th. There are a few exceptions, check with your home school.  

How do parents change their educational option for 2nd Semester?

Parents will log into the DoDEA Aspen Family Portal and select the program option that works best for each of their children. If a parent does not have access to the internet, they will need to contact their child’s school. Directions for parents to submit a selection for semester 2 are below:

STEP 1: Access the DoDEA Aspen Family Portal.

STEP 2: Login with the Login ID (your student’s DoDEA Student Gmail address) and password (your student’s date of birth using M/D/YYYY) (e.g. 1/2/2013 not 01/02/2013).

STEP 3: Follow the instructions in the Aspen Family Portal to answer the questions and finish by clicking Save at the bottom of the form.

(If you access the portal on a mobile device, click “View Full Site” to see the virtual option section.)

STEP 4: Log Off from the DoDEA Aspen Family Portal

STEP 5: If you need to submit answers for another student, log in with the Login ID and password for the next student.

You cannot submit answers for multiple students under one login.

THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT YOUR SELECTION FOR SEMESTER 2 IS NOVEMBER 6, 2020.

Second Semester Enrollment

How do new families to DoDEA enroll in the virtual option?

Families will select either in-person instruction or full-time virtual education when they register students using DORS and then contact the registrar at their assigned DoDEA school to complete the registration process.

Questions?

If you have additional questions, please email .

Making a Choice

Full-time In-Person School

student at desk with mask

Full-time Virtual Learning

Parents Helping Children With Homework

How do the two options compare?

  Full-Time In-Person Instruction Full-Time Virtual Instruction

Schedule

All grade levels, 5 days a week. Students will follow the posted calendar for each school.

Students will follow a weekly schedule and will be expected to submit all schoolwork on time. They will access course content asynchronously, under the supervision of a parent / guardian as appropriate. Students and parents can expect constructive feedback and synchronous support from teachers throughout the week.

Courses

All courses required by DoDEA will be available.

Some electives and programs may not be available given staffing limitations and potential risks.

1. Students in grades K-8 will be enrolled in math, language arts, social studies, science and one elective. Electives will include:

  • Grades K-3:  Art
  • Grades 4-5:  Physical Education
  • Grades 6-7:  CTE Option (TBD)
  • Grade 8:  Health Opportunities and Physical Education

2. Teachers will hold office hours each week with flexible times that accommodate student and parent needs.

3. Students in grades 9-12 will be enrolled in existing DVHS courses. They will work with counselors to select courses that best fit their needs.

4. Students with IEP /504 plans, including students who are English Learners, should work closely with their home schools to adapt or modify their IEP plans for the virtual option.

Food Services

Normal food services will be provided with modifications for social distancing and other pre-cautionary measures to ensure safety.

In the Americas, check with your local school to determine the availability of the school meal program. For students overseas in Europe and Pacific, meal service options are under development and more information will be forthcoming.

Transportation

Normal busing will occur and all students will be required to wear a mask.

Not applicable

Health Protocols

Staff will guide students on health and safety protocols, following Centers for Disease Control Department of Defense guidelines. All staff and students must wear face coverings (as developmentally appropriate) in accordance with CDC and DoD guidelines. Schools will provide masks to students unable to provide their own. Six feet of social distancing will be maintained whenever possible.

Not applicable

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

Available on a limited basis depending on ability to social distance and wear face coverings.

Available on a limited basis depending on ability to social distance and wear face coverings.

Considerations for Parents when Choosing the Virtual Option

Grades K-5

Parents should consider:

  • Attention span of children
  • Specials classes are limited.
  • Less social interactions and informal play.
  • 1:1 reading instruction may be less optimal in this setting
  • IEP, 504, and ESL plans may need to be reviewed and updated for the virtual setting.
  • Time to sit may need to sit with students for synchronous and asynchronous learning.
  • Parent must be available for a teacher conference weekly.

Grades 6-12

Parents should consider: 

  • Course availability may be limited for electives.
  • IEP, 504, and ESL plans may need to be reviewed and updated for the virtual setting.
  • Extra-curricular activities will be available on a limited basis depending on ability to social distance and wear face coverings
  • Time to check with students daily on their progress and monitor asynchronous learning sessions.
  • Parent must be available for a teacher conference as needed

Common Questions About the Virtual Option

The full-time virtual school option is designed with the overarching aim to provide families the stability for their schedules and routines. The model stays constant throughout the school year regardless of changes to public health conditions. Families choosing this model recognize and accept that their children will not have regular in-person interactions with teachers and peers. Rather, they will engage in interactive lessons online. According to its design, this model is intended to be a full-year semester commitment.

  • Students in grades K-6 will be enrolled in five courses: mathematics, English/language arts, science, social studies and one elective. (6th and 7th grades: CTE Course TBD; 8th grade: Health Opportunities and Physical Education). DoDEA procured courses from Florida Virtual School (FLVS) that are aligned to the DoDEA Standards and include syllabi and assignment schedules for each course. The course content is online through Schoology and a packet of learning materials will be provided to students in grades K-5.
  • Students in grades 7-12 in the virtual option for the second semester will work with their local brick and mortar school counselor to register for courses from November 9-20, 2020.

The full-time online model involves independent online learning and teacher-directed synchronous instruction. Students participating in the full-time online model are likely to have larger class sizes than their peers taking the same course under the in-person continuum. Individual student schedules for online instruction will be finalized and communicated by the end of December 2020.

To the extent possible, elementary and middle school students will be served by dedicated DoDEA teachers in a cohort model with other students from their school, or their geographic region. Courses will be taught using online courseware and digital curriculum resources along with synchronous direct instruction and support from an online DoDEA teacher.

Families of full-time online students should be prepared to support their children’s active participation in all online learning activities. They will need to ensure their children have adequate space, materials, and technology access for their daily online instruction, requesting school assistance to provide a laptop and internet service, as needed. Families will need to be ready to follow the established daily learning schedule and will need to work with school staff to arrange for their children to participate in standardized assessments and other mandated educational activities. Families should recognize that full-time online instruction may not be able to support some specialized programs and course offerings that would otherwise be available to enhance student options and experiences.

DoDEA parents who want the virtual learning option will be asked to enroll in DVS through the Aspen Parent Portal by November 6, 2020. Parents must login to the Aspen Parent Portal using their child’s username and password. If the intent form is not returned by the November 6, 2020 deadline, the student will be automatically be enrolled for in-person instruction for the second semester, which begins January 19, 2021.

There is nothing you need to do, students will remain enrolled for in-person instruction for the second semester.

To help with scheduling, we ask that parents who want to remain in the virtual learning option to re-register for 2nd semester by logging in to the Aspen Parent Portal with the Login ID (your student’s DoDEA Student Gmail address) and password (your student’s date of birth using M/D/YYYY) (e.g. 1/2/2013 not 01/02/2013). This re-registration needs to be completed by November 6, 2020 deadline.

While students in DVS in grades K-5 will have the same 5 classes in the second semester, we cannot guarantee that they will have the same teachers. For students in grades 6-8, the situation will be similar although students in grades 6 and 7 will have a new elective course (Game Design 1a: Introduction). Middle school students continuing in DVS may have new teachers as well in the second semester.

No, the commitment is for all of the second semester, regardless of whether or not the local school is open for in-person instruction. According to the course design, this model is intended to be a full-year semester commitment.

The end of the semester for in person learning is January 14, 2021. The end of the first semester for virtual school is January 13th. Families who chose to move from in person learning to virtual school will return to in person learning after the winter break and transition to the virtual platform at the beginning of the 2nd Semester on January 19th. Likewise , families who chose to move from virtual learning to in person will resume virtual learning on January 4th and will transition to the brick and mortar school setting on January 19th. There are a few exceptions, check with your home school.  

6th and 7th grade: CTE Course, TBD

8th grade: Health Opportunities and Physical Education

No, DoDEA will not be offering a virtual learning option for PreK students. Virtual preschool does not provide the social and relational interactions that are essential to children’s later development. While technology can be used to enhance or scaffold learning, full time virtual preschool is not a best practice.

For students seeking instruction from the DVS who are, or may be, eligible for a 504 Accommodation Plan, the 504 Accommodation Team of the student’s normally assigned brick and mortar school will convene to develop (or modify) the student’s 504 Accommodation Plan. The 504 Coordinator of the brick and mortar school will remain the case manager for students who have a 504 Accommodation Plan and are enrolled in DVS. The 504 Coordinator of the brick and mortar school, in close collaboration with the DVS, will monitor the student’s progress and meet with the teachers as needed. The 504 Accommodation Team will follow the policies and procedures outlined in DoDEA Administrative Instruction 2500.14 and will work with the DVS to provide the virtual and/or physical accommodations necessary for a student with a disability to have access to DoDEA educational programs and services.

For students who receive special education services, the DVS provides specially designed instruction utilizing special education teachers and related service providers. The DVS special education teachers will provide specialized instruction, consultation, and accommodations, as needed, to students with individualized education programs (IEPs) in order to access the general education curriculum while addressing targeted goals. While the DVS does not offer separate special education classes as a replacement to any general education course, the DVS special education teacher will provide synchronous special education services. These services may include direct or small group instruction that does not replace the general education curriculum. Each student is responsible for completing asynchronous sessions, submitting assignments, and attending synchronous sessions with the student’s general education teacher, SPED teacher, or related service provider.

Students in grades K-5 continue to receive the appropriate level of services provided by the school-based AAPS-RT in collaboration with the Virtual School grade level teacher. Students in grades 6-12 may continue to receive the appropriate differentiated services and accelerated course options if those options are available in the virtual school.

Parents of students whose first language is not English and who are identified as in need of ESOL services will receive these services from a certified ESOL teacher assigned to the DVS. DVS ESOL teachers provide support according to the level of English language proficiency of each student. The supports provided by DVS ESOL teachers will vary in frequency according to each student's English language learning needs. DVS ESOL teachers will also provide support by reinforcing for their students age and grade-level appropriate language and academic concepts. DVS ESOL teachers may work remotely with students individually or in small groups. DVS ESOL teachers will monitor also work with their "brick and mortar" counterparts to identify students who are in need of ESOL services, and to assess how the students are making progress towards proficiency. ESOL teachers will recommend linguistic accommodations to DVS grade level classroom teachers (elementary) and/or content area teachers (high school). Parents will receive communications regarding DVS ESOL services in multiple ways, to include; directly from the DVS ESOL Teacher, the DVS Principal or Designee, and through announcements at the DVS Website. Parents who have questions regarding ESOL services should first contact their DVS ESOL teacher. Some helpful student and parent resources for English and academic language development include:

No, JROTC will not be offered by the DoDEA Virtual School. JROTC will be offered for in-person instruction.

This process has been complicated and not without challenges, but the goal all along was to provide families with additional choice in the face of this school year's uncertainty. While we will do our best to ensure continuity, the teachers available to the virtual school next semester will be based on the number or students returning to in-person instruction at each location, the remaining students needing a specific course, the teacher preference, their years of service, and any reasonable accommodation procedures. As such there is no way to make a guarantee of any specific teacher's assignment until families have indicated their preference for next school year and the subsequent staffing reallocation has been done. This process will begin immediately after families complete their preferences on November 6th.

The timeline for selection and our experience from last semester, coupled with the fact that we are dealing with a fully staffed school at this time gives us confidence that we will be able to have all teachers and classes appropriately assigned at the beginning of the school year.

Supply of teachers available for the virtual school is tied directly to family demand as indicated by option selection occurring in the next 3 weeks. As such, until information about the number of students requesting DVS for second semester is in, there's just no way to accurately answer this question for every student. If 50% of the students move back to brick and mortar, we could see a DVS staff reduction of 50% of teachers who will return to schools to serve those families who have returned. Which teachers will be selected to do that will be determined by a number of variables including, but not limited to: the number or students returning to in-person instruction at each location, the remaining students needing a specific course, the teacher preference, teacher certifications, years of service, and any reasonable accommodation procedures.

DoDEA was only able to obtain authority for PCSing families to continue in the virtual school until the end of the first semester (Jan 30th 2021) with late PCS season and last minute decision making processes taking place in public school districts as rationale. Now that district plans are more clear and there is time for a family to prepare for their transition, families should plan to transition to the school district where they will be stationed/residing. DoDEA is committed to facilitating warm hand-offs to any family needing transition assistance through school liaison officers or reaching directly to the receiving school if necessary. Please contact for support.

Yes, please coordinate this transition with the registrar at the brick and mortar school that your child is assigned to at the losing installation and they will facilitate the transfer of your student’s records. You will also want to coordinate with your child’s teachers and the virtual school administration.

The virtual school instructional model differs from the remote learning. The virtual model does not attempt to replicate the face-to-face classroom; the virtual model provides a fully developed curriculum with teacher support.

K-5: Teachers have daily synchronous sessions at various times during the day. These sessions are recorded for students who are unable to attend. Please note there is no bell schedule in this environment. Teachers also offer daily office hours to meet with students and parents.

6-8: Teachers have sessions throughout the week based on student need. Please note there is no bell schedule in this environment. Teachers also offer daily office hours to meet with students and parents.

9-12: Teachers have office hours in each time zone for students to ask questions. Depending on the student, teachers may offer small group instruction. In this environment they work mostly one on one based on student need. The model is asynchronous instruction with synchronous support. Please note there is no bell schedule in this environment.

The transition to in person courses will be with the start of the second semester. Students will receive their first semester grade from the virtual school. Students will complete the first semester using the Virtual School calendar; semester ends on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Prior to the start of second semester and if needed, virtual school counselors and local school counselors will collaborate on the student’s second semester schedule. Receiving teachers will have an opportunity to communicate with the virtual school teacher to discuss the transition and compare the scope and sequence.

Your first step is to engage with the local school administration, and arrange a meeting to find how they can best assist your child’s individual needs. Keep in mind that the quarter is coming to an end so it may be challenging for the student transitioning mid-semester because of the different scope and sequence. Additionally, both the virtual school and the brick and mortar schools were staffed based on the enrollment commitments from parents. Not all DoDEA schools are staffed for additional students at this time to transition before the semester ends. School staffing will be adjusted at that time to support returning students to and from the virtual option.

We are committed to providing students a quality educational experience, regardless of instructional model, and will work to meet the needs of each and every student.  We understand and appreciate your request for additional time to make an informed decision about how your child will complete the school year. 

As we come to the midpoint in the first semester, DoDEA is preparing for next semester in earnest, with the registration window open for families until November 6th.  We are not going to be able to extent this time frame for a  variety of reasons.  A significant part of this effort is identifying which students be moving to the virtual school, staying in the virtual school, returning to brick and mortar schools, or leaving the DoDEA system.

This will involve a delicate balance of ensuring the staffing needs of the virtual school and brick and mortar schools are met to the greatest extent possible.  This process has been complicated and not without challenges, but the goal all along was to provide families with additional choice in the face of this school year's uncertainty.    To ensure that we will be able to have all teachers and classes appropriately assigned at the beginning of the second semester the process must begin immediately after families complete their preferences on November 6th.    We encourage parents to reach out to their children’s teacher to ask questions they may have to help make the best choice for 2nd semester.

The pandemic has caused great uncertainty in both our professional and personal lives.  As difficult as this is for all of us, our mission remains to support military families.   The timeframe in place will allow DoDEA to complete a smooth transition, if there is a teacher change, all individual information about the student and progress made during the opening of school will be shared with the new teacher.

Technology for the Virtual Learning Option

If families and students do not have an adequate laptop or computer at home, students may request to check out a laptop from their local school.

Students will have to have access to a computer to use the DoDEA Learning Management System, Schoology. Students will not be able to use a phone or tablet to fully access the materials of the course.

As with laptops, families and students may request and check out a hotspot from their local school.