Frequently Asked Questions
How can we help you?
Our online classrooms include live video-conferencing daily and personal interaction with teachers to provide each student with learning and teaching that suits their needs and interests.
Students will be expected to engage with fellow students and join in activities as well as complete their own work.
Students keep their identity with their home district— counselors, tech help and more remain available. Online students can participate in extra-curricular activities, such as athletics, and in all other school events as they wish.
How does Elevate online work? What technology Is used?
We use a cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) called "Brightspace D2L" as its principal platform. This is the same platform that has been used by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities for almost two decades. Students will participate in a series of virtual orientation meetings to ensure their comfort with the system as well as where and how to reach out for help when needed.
Staff will supplement this platform with a special LMS for Kindergarten and elementary grades, called SeeSaw, which is visually and pedagogically better for these early grades.
We will also supplement our platform with many proven and vetted academic content providers including:
IXL — a K thru 5th comprehensive curriculum covering all required state standards for all core subjects (language arts, math, science, social studies) and certain electives
Edmentum — a Minnesota-based 6th thru12th comprehensive curriculum covering the required state standards for all core subjects, plus electives, world languages and career-technical education options; Study Island (from Edmentum) provides students instruction where they struggle most in core subjects
MINITEX — Minnesota State Library with access to Encyclopedia Britannica, GALE, ProQuest and eBooks
Other third-party tools and sources such as PBS Learning Media, Kahn Academy, SchoolTube and others
Is this online public education service ongoing or just a temporary fix?
We are building Elevate Online (Elementary, Middle School and High School) to be a permanent and high-quality public education program for Minnesota students. Not just to fill a gap this year.
In what school is the student officially enrolled when attending Elevate?
Students will remain students of their home district with all the rights, privileges and opportunities that provides.
We see the main benefit for a student to remain enrolled in their home district while they are registered for online classes with SWMetro. Students are able to participate in any and all extracurriculars and clubs as they continue to be enrolled in their district. Where we will have staff in place to help students as needed, online students still retain the ability to connect with their home district tech help, counselors and administrators for help and guidance.
Registering for classes is a part of the services your home district and home school offer you as a feature of public education.
If we start with you, can we go back to our home school? If we want to come to you in the middle of a school year, can we come to you?
Generally any student in school with us can always return to their home school, But joining our program requires cooperation of your home district.
Our online program is a partnership between SWMetro and our member school districts. As a result, answers to questions like the ones you raise would require input from both our SWMetro team and from your resident district.
If your resident district agreed to allow the transition of your student to our program after the school year began, we would do our absolute best to accommodate your request. However, we are not able to make this decision in a vacuum and without the mutual consent of your resident school district.
What is the school calendar? When are the holidays?
The school calendar is different from your home school calendar but also very similar in most breaks and time off.
What is the daily online class schedule?
Elevate Online—elementary, middle and high school—have regular daily schedules, Monday through Friday. Students will be expected to login and participate in live classrooms each period and each day.
Daily High School Schedule
My home district has Trimesters. Elevate is Semesters. How is that going to work?
Every district determines their own academic calendar and course schedule. Because we serve so many districts, we adopt a single academic calendar and course schedule.
Official grading periods are determined by home districts, and we will provide mid-term and final course grades when needed. Progress reports and transcripts will be sent to your home district and school to be applied to your transcript there.
Schools have always had to deal with differences in credits whenever students transfers or are new enrollments. Each district has policies and practices for crediting courses and transferring grades and/or credits from other public schools. Converting trimesters, quarters and semesters into one another is a routine.
Will students use their Gmail accounts from their home school to log in to class, or will Elevate assign new Gmail accounts? Will there be a parent portal?
Elevate Online has its own Google Workspace. For the time being, that will mean a NEW login for the online classes. That will also mean an additional email account. We are working on a solution for the Single Sign-On.
The Parent Portal you use will continue for all your students, but the most up-to-date information for your child in online will be in that platform.
Elevate Virtual Middle School and Virtual High School has an eight period day, but my home school has fewer periods. How is that going to work?
Just like the question above, because we serve so many districts, we had to adopt a standard daily schedule that might not match your home school exactly.
Again, schools have always had to deal with such differences in transcripts whenever there are transfers or new enrollments. Each district and school have policies and practices for crediting courses, grades and credits from other public schools, regardless of the hours in class or the number of periods in the day. It is routine.
How do you serve students that require special services?
We serve all students and honor all services and accommodations for students with special needs. For students who have an IEP, the IEP team will meet with our staff to discuss current services and accommodations to determine how they could best be implemented in the online learning environment. The 504 plan coordinator from each district will share the student’s 504 plan and help to implement needed accommodations.
Some accommodations and services are difficult to deliver in an online environment. So, we encourage you to candidly discuss your concerns with your student's IEP team and 504 Plan coordinator before you commit to this enrollment.
How do we get technology for students?
We do not provide any hardware for students, so your home district is the source for your hardware support. Students are eligible for home district provided technology the same as another student attending in-person would be in the district.
In all cases your home district will also provide some technical help should you have problems or questions. We will also offer an online Help Desk available during school hours for problems and questions students have using our online lessons.
So, are we going to need special software or equipment to participate in Elevate classes?
Any computer (PC, MAC, Chromebook, Microsoft Surface) and any tablet (IOS, Android, Amazon Fire) will work with SEE Virtual Classes. A device with a keyboard will work best, but touchscreens work, too. All classes are best accessed with the Google Chrome browser, because of the extensions that are available and because this is what most participating schools support. If you do not have it, you can download it here: Download Here!
If you are using a tablet, you may also use a special application made for them, called PULSE. You can access it through your Google Store or Apple Store online.
We do not recommend use of smartphones for anything but communication; the display of lessons does not work well on smartphones.
If there is other software we require for the student, we will ensure that it is provided at no cost and will provide instructions how to install and use it .
We do not distribute printed versions of online course material, but for students with these accommodations, we have a process to meet these needs. Overall, students are expected to complete work online. For students who prefer paper copies of required readings, they may print materials in their own workspaces.
How do we get workbooks and other material for the Elevate?
In general, all coursework is online. Students will need to learn how to use those online tools to get the most out of our course. Staff will overview those skills during student orientation. Some students may need additional or ongoing help. We will have resources available online for students and parents including supplemental technology lessons and will have a Help Desk online during school hours.
At the beginning of each quarter some courses may provide workbooks and other student consumables. These will be available through pick-up at your home school.
Where students require regular receipt of instructional material based on accommodations, a separate plan will be developed.
Can we still get school lunches?
School lunch programs are administered by your home school. Please contact them about their plans.
What is the attendance requirement for Elevate Online Live Instruction and Self-Learning Courses?
Students in Elevate Online live instruction courses will be required to attend and participate in daily classes, Monday-Friday each week. Our online staff take period attendance that is reported back to the home district where all attendance rules in the student handbook will be followed as well as county truancy laws. Students and families will report absences and expected tardiness by text or phone call or online via links provided on the e-Learning website.
Students in Asynchronous Courses are required to keep to a pace of learning which is customized to them and the course. Our staff will also hold regular check-ins and a required weekly progress meeting for students. Keeping at pace will be considered regular attendance. Falling behind in pace and/or not responding to staff could be considered an absence and may result in a lower grade or loss of credit.
How can a parent assist a student in their learning?
Parents should not do work for their student, of course. But we have found that the more the parent helps the student, the better the student fares.
While we expect that elementary school students may often have the immediate presence of parents when they are online, typically the middle and high school student does not. So, parents can use the "portal" to see how the student is doing, what work may be missing, and what the assignments are.
What is a good internet connection for online learning?
Internet connections can be difficult. When the connection fails, be assured that the live class time will be available on recording for later access. We will provide a means for you to report your internet failure.
Internet Speed Tests can be made online with this link:
Go to Google.com.
Search for internet speed test.
Choose Run Speed Test.
Education website K12.com says you need a download speed of at least 1 MBps. A network with at least 3 MBps or higher available bandwidth will provide the best video and audio quality during playback for standard definition content and 5 MBps for high-definition content.
If my computer breaks down, who do I contact?
Your home district will provide technical help for devices, privacy, hotspots, headphones, etc. should you have problems or questions. We will also offer Help Desk Support during school hours for problems and questions regarding software and learning management systems.
What do I do If my child is sick?
Always email your child’s teacher to let them know of the absence. You may also contact us for assistance.