Online Academy FAQs

Online Academy FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is North Hills’ Online Academy?
A: The Online Academy at North Hills is a fully online K-12 program offering a robust and rigorous curriculum. Designed to increase student engagement and achievement, the program features core course offerings in English, math, science and social studies, and some electives.

Q: If my child attends North Hills’ Online Academy, will he/she meet the necessary attendance requirements of 990 instructional hours and 180 school days?
A: Yes.

Q: How does the Online Academy differ from this spring’s virtual instruction?
A: Online Academy courses are very structured and specifically designed to increase student engagement and achievement. In addition, there are numerous interactive components within each lesson to encourage and increase student participation.

Q: If NHSD operates a Blended, Hybrid or Virtual instructional model, will the virtual teaching and learning take place through the Online Academy?
A: No. The Online Academy is a completely separate program. Should NHSD adopt an instructional model that includes virtual teaching and learning, the virtual teaching and learning will occur through Google Classroom and platforms designed by the district and/or teacher.

Q: Can you elaborate on the attendance policy and explain what is expected at the elementary level? Secondary level?
A: Students who attend the Online Academy at North Hills are expected to log in, participate in lessons and complete assignments on school days just as they would if they attend the district’s brick and mortar schools.

Q: Does the Online Academy follow the same schedule as the North Hills School District?
A: Yes.

Q: Will Online Academy students also receive a district iPad?
A: Yes.

Q: Will the district iPads given to Online Academy students have the same apps as the iPads given to NHSD students?
A: Standard apps such as the Google Suite will be on all iPads but class specific apps will not be on iPads as they will not need them for Online Academy courses.


Q: Who can participate in North Hills’ Online Academy?
A: Any district student in grades K-12.

Q: When do I have to enroll in the Online Academy?
A: To ensure that your student has all necessary courses available on the first day of school we are respectfully requesting that you enroll as soon as possible.

Q: How many students can enroll in the Online Academy at North Hills?
A: There is no cap on the numbers of students who can enroll.

Q: Are the sizes of classes limited in the Online Academy?
A: Yes. Elementary class sizes adhere to the district’s class size policy. Sections are scheduled at the secondary level based on the number of students enrolled and the courses taken.

Q: Can my student enroll part-time in the Online Academy and part-time in person?
A: Yes! However, you may be responsible for transportation to and from school depending upon the schedule created.

Q: If enough elementary kids in the same grade level enrolled in the Online Academy, would they have their own in-person classes in a school building for special area classes?
A: No. If an elementary student enrolled in the Online Academy wishes to come into school for special area classes, they should contact the student’s building principal directly who will schedule them into special area classes.

Q: I'm disappointed that there isn’t more leeway to transition into the Online Academy. If we send our child to school in person but aren't comfortable with the situation, why can’t we then transition to the Online Academy?
A: You can! Transitioning from in-person instruction to online instruction can be facilitated fairly quickly and easily. However, the transition from the Online Academy to in-person instruction may only occur at the end of a nine-week period.

Q: If I enroll today but later decide I no longer want my student to be enrolled in the Online Academy, can I unroll?
A: Yes, but only up until the first day of school, August 25. If your student begins in the Online Academy on August 25, transfer back into the classroom can only occur after nine weeks in the online program.

Q: Can a student transition from the Online Academy after nine weeks to North Hills’ virtual instruction should the district be operating the virtual model?
A: Not at this time. We believe staying in the Online Academy is the best course of action for providing a continuity of education for the student.

Q. If my child returns from the Online Academy to in-person instruction will this affect class size?
A: The district is committed to the class size policy to the extent possible. We are working with each building’s administration to ensure class sizes and the ability to accommodate students transferring back to face-to-face instruction.

Q: Describe a typical day for a student enrolled in the Online Academy at the elementary level? At the secondary level?
A: The online program is designed to provide some flexibility for students as all students learn differently in a structured format. However, students are expected to log in daily to participate in asynchronous learning activities. Students should anticipate several hours of online classes as dependent upon the grade level. Online teachers will also provide students with more specifics as it relates to his/her class once the class begins.

Q: Is there flexibility if my student cannot complete all of the assigned lessons as per the course calendar?
A: Yes. The course calendar is designed to provide structure and pacing for the student so they do not become overwhelmed. However, there is flexibility to completing lessons as the instruction is embedded in the course via videos, examples, guided practice, etc.

Q: My child wants to participate in extracurricular activities as an online student. Can this occur?
A: Yes.

Curriculum and Courses

Q: What is the curriculum for the North Hills’ Online Academy?
A: The curriculum used for the 2020-21 school year is provided by Accelerate Education. All Accelerate Education courses are aligned to the same state standards as North Hills’ traditionally offered curriculum.

Q: Is the curriculum used in the Online Academy the same? If not, how can my student successfully transfer back to in-person instruction?
A: The curriculum, whether in-person or virtual, aligns to the standards as per the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The curriculum/material used to teach those standards is chosen by the district. Different material will be used in-person, in the classroom versus in the Online Academy. However, the goal is for the student to learn the standard or skill. The curriculum/material used is simply a learning tool. Therefore, returning from the Online Academy to in-person instruction will work because the same set of standards will be taught.

Q: Who teaches the North Hills’ Online Academy courses?
A: Classes for grades K-6 will be taught asynchronously using the Accelerate Education curriculum by Accelerate Education teachers. One synchronous (live) meeting will take place each week with their Accelerate Education teacher. NHSD school counselors, reading specialists, math support teachers and instructional support staff will be accessible to students on scheduled basis. Classes for grades 7-12 will be taught asynchronously using Accelerate Education as the curriculum while facilitated by North Hills School District teachers who will be accessible to students on scheduled basis.

Q: What courses are available for a K-5 student who wishes to enroll in North Hills’ Online Academy?
A: Students in grades K-5 will primarily focus on English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Art is also available as a special or elective subject. View the complete course offerings here.

Q: What courses are available for a 6-8 grade student who wishes to enroll in North Hills’ Online Academy?
A: The complete course list sorted by grade is available at this link.

Q: What courses are currently available for a 9-12 grade student who wishes to enroll in North Hills’ Online Academy?
A: The complete course list for students in grades 9-12 is available at this link.

Q: Can my student try out a course now to see if it's something they like?
A: Unfortunately, no. The Accelerate Education platform was chosen following a thorough review by a committee made up of administrators, teachers and school board members. We also encourage you and your student to watch this overview video showing the platform.

Q: My child wants to take the exact same courses that he/she has already scheduled in North Hills’ Online Academy. Is this possible?
A: No. The online course offerings will not be as extensive as the traditional courses offered. Please use the links above to access current course lists and descriptions.

Q: Can Online Academy students reach out directly to special or elective teachers they’ve previously had for lessons, i.e. band?
A: No. Please contact your student’s building principal or guidance counselor directly if your student is enrolled in the Online Academy and would like to participate in in-person electives or special area classes.

Q: Are Advanced Placement and world language courses available through the North Hills’ Online Academy?
A: A list of Advanced Placement and World Language courses that may be offered based on overall student course demand is available on the last page of the high school course list linked here. Final availability of these courses will be determined by overall student course requests, similar to the process used to determine course availability during the typical scheduling process.

Q: My high school student has honors classes? Can anything be done to accommodate this need?
A: Please contact Assistant Principal Mr. John Lesjack.

Q: Are College in High School (CHS) offered at the high school also offered through the Online Academy?
A: CHS classes are only offered through the traditional schooling option as these are taught in conjunction with university mandates. There are a limited number of AP classes available through Accelerate Education.

Q: How does the Online Academy work with gifted students?
A: Students may select courses from the offerings in each building. Enrichment or extension activities are embedded into the curriculum. In addition, gifted services will still be provided in each building for students as well.

Q: My child has an individualized education plan. How will his/her accommodations be met in the North HIlls’ Online Academy?
A: The accommodations included in the student’s individualized education plan will be considered and met, where possible, in the online program. IEP teams will reconvene to revise SDIs to determine which are appropriate and applicable for online instruction.

View text-based website