Updated for the 2021-2022 Academic Year
Welcome, St. Raphael School Families!
We’re delighted to partner with you in pursuit of restful classical education for your students. The below handbook outlines the structure of our online academy, the philosophy of education that we embrace, and the policies we have set in place to facilitate a smooth and fruitful experience for students and teachers. Please review this handbook carefully, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. You confirm your commitment to these policies and agreements by enrolling your student in a Scholé Academy course.
Important Note: St. Raphael School exists as a “school within a school,” an Orthodox house of studies within Scholé Academy. This handbook is a modified version of the Scholé Academy handbook. In a few places SRS has a modified version of a policy to suit the needs of our community, and those will specifically refer to St. Raphael School. All references to Scholé Academy policies below should be understood to apply to students of St. Raphael School as well.
I. The Scholé Learning Philosophy
The word scholé (pronounced skoh-LAY) comes from a Greek word meaning “restful learning,” with connotations of reflection, contemplation, and leisure. Put simply, scholé means undistracted time to study the things that are most worthwhile. As our name implies, we at Scholé Academy value learning that is restful rather than frenetic. How do our educational philosophy and methods differ from those represented by progressive education? Modern education is largely an education in anxiety. In this system, students commonly take eight or more courses at a time, which contributes to the stress and anxiety now associated with the term school. For each of their classes, students are typically graded numerically by instructors who are often driven to “teach to the test” and who must use assessments that produce easily quantified data—in other words, dehumanizing tests that are machine readable. Students in such a system learn to cram, pass, and then forget.
By contrast, our courses of study cultivate unrushed learning with meaningful, deep engagement of fewer books and concepts (comparatively speaking), so that learning becomes memorable, enjoyable, and permanent. Scholé Academy instructors create an atmosphere of restful learning by modeling peace, tranquility, and love of the subject, and they utilize methods of evaluation that assess understanding and mastery of the subject rather than just the input and output of facts.
This means that, even in an online classroom setting, the Scholé Academy faculty works to create engaged discussion and learning and seek to build relationships with and among students. We work hard to structure our courses so that the amount of work required is in accord with the allotted time, while also cultivating an atmosphere of contemplation, conversation, and reflection. Our instructors are masters of their disciplines and experienced instructors who seek to wed truth to beauty in their teaching and cultivate education in its fullest sense, ensuring that through Scholé Academy your student will receive excellent, classical instruction that leads to wisdom and mastery.
As part of our commitment to providing a restful education, we carefully seek out and hire instructors who already demonstrate a commitment to these ideals. All Scholé Academy instructors are given access to ClassicalU, along with other key resources that define our philosophy of education, for ongoing professional development. If you are interested in exploring the concept of scholé in more depth, we recommend the following resources to you:
- The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education by Kevin Clark and Ravi Jain (book);
- “Scholé in the Scriptures: Choosing What Is Better” by Christopher Perrin (article);
- “Desiring a Kingdom School” by Christopher Perrin (article).
In pursuit of scholé, Scholé Academy employs two key pedagogies that set it apart from other online schools. First, we emphasize the development of virtues in our students; second, we employ patterns of “liturgical learning.” In fact, liturgical learning is an important part of developing student virtues. While it is beyond the scope of this handbook to fully describe the student virtues and how we seek to cultivate them, the student virtues should nevertheless be briefly described.
St. Augustine described education as essentially teaching students to “love that which is lovely,” following on Plato’s idea that affections and taste must be cultivated. The classical and Christian traditions have emphasized that it is critical to model for students the love for the true, good, and beautiful, and by various means to cultivate and stir up a love for them. C.S. Lewis makes this case persuasively in his little book The Abolition of Man. He tells us that we need to cultivate not only minds but also chests (the visceral, affective part of us), especially since presently our modern schools neglect the cultivation of affections, rendering us as “men without chests.” He comments that modern students are not so much “jungles to be cut” as “deserts that need to be irrigated.” Even the word student suggests this. It is derived from the Latin word studium, which means “zeal,” “fondness,” and “affection.” Thus, etymologically considered, a student is someone who is zealous and eager for truth, goodness, and beauty—that is, for knowledge. Is it not true that there are many students who are not really students? Until we have a child before us who is seeking and zealous for knowledge, we really don’t have a student before us; instead, we have someone who we must force to do academic work, usually by means of the carrot and the stick. Such a “student” will be generally uncooperative and resistant (even if passively so), and he will quickly forget what he is forced to “learn.” Teaching such “students” is no fun at all. By contrast, once a child becomes eager to learn—to know—and is, in fact, “in love” with math, history, language, or logic—then teaching is a joy. Great instructors know instinctively that they must cultivate this studium, this zeal, in their students. Naturally, parents play the most vital role in this development—and in education, a partnership between parents and instructors is required for true success. (Please note that we include guardians when we refer to parents, but for the sake of space, we use parents throughout this handbook.) So what are the key student virtues that we need to cultivate in our children? What are the corresponding vices that they must overcome?
- Love: Love is a master virtue that fuels and empowers the other student virtues. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 13 that even if we speak in the tongues of angels (high linguistic achievement!) and fathom all mysteries (surpassing the learning of a genius) but have not love, our achievement will be worth nothing. Students are called by God (and thus should be called by us) to “love the lovely” and to glory in God Himself and His revealed mind in nature, Scripture, and ourselves. Knowing of God’s goodness in the world, and His goodness toward us, we can live out of love and gratitude in all we do, including our studies and our pursuit of the true, good, and beautiful in all of our academic work. We can therefore always say to our students, “Choose joy.”
- Humility: Humility is another master virtue that leads to other virtues. We cultivate humility by taking students to the heights and showing them greatness. In the presence of greatness, students become conscious of their own slender resources and will not take on anything beyond their power, but instead learn to rejoice in what is given them in their measure. Humility will also lead to gratitude—gratitude even for those friends whose gifts and capacities surpass our own. Sertillanges writes, “In face of others’ superiority, there is only one honorable attitude: to be glad of it, and then it becomes our own joy, our own good fortune.”
- Patience: Patience involves bearing difficulties well, enduring the hardship and “suffering” that does come occasionally (and sometimes regularly) as part of learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge.
- Constancy: Students who exhibit constancy keep steadily at a task, remaining focused and diligent. This virtue enables students to push away even “good” distractions that would inhibit learning and mastery.
- Perseverance: Perseverance is similar to constancy, but this virtue requires a willful spirit to do what must be done, and even to love what must be done (reminding us that love is a master virtue). Students will be motivated and inspired to persevere by the vision of mastery, capacity, and wisdom that instructors lay before their eyes. Small wins and slowly increasing capacity will also kindle perseverance, constancy, and patience.
- Temperance/Studiousness: Students need to avoid excessive negligence (laziness) and excessive curiosity and ambition (vain ambition and overreach). To master an art, students must walk the wise, proven path, starting at the beginning and mastering each step. To leap ahead (even when they can to some degree) does damage to the necessary discipline of mastering an art. Sertillanges says, “If you want to see things grow big, plant small,” and go to the sea by way of the streams and rivers—it is folly to go jump in the sea. Recall as well the tortoise and the hare. Students also must balance or temper their studies with other academic work and with their other responsibilities as human beings (good exercise, prayer, worship, family living and contributions, etc.).
- Pride: Pride drives students to love their own opinions and thoughts such that they cannot learn from others or discern the broader wisdom from other minds that would inform them.
- Envy: Envy agitates the mind by refusing to honor the gifts and capacities of others; it hinders students from learning from other honorable and able students.
- Sloth/Laziness: This is where the good gifts and capacities of students go to die.
- Sensuality: Indulgence in sensuality (not only of the sexual variety) creates lethargy, befogs the imagination, dulls the intelligence, and scatters the memory; sensuality distracts from learning.
- Irritation/Impatience: Irritation and impatience repels exhortation, direction, and constructive criticism, and thus deters students from mastery and leads them to increased error.
- Excessive Ambition (a form of intemperance): Excessive ambition leads students to leap ahead of their capacity without true mastery and integration (often out of pride), which ultimately slows down learning and leads to patchy, nonintegrated understanding.
All of these vices compromise a student’s ability to attend, to judge or assess, and therefore to truly know. All of these vices also tend to come together and lead to one another—they are interconnected. These virtues are not so much taught as they are cultivated and modeled. We should make students aware of these virtues and we should, in fact, occasionally teach them directly. However, it is very important that students begin to hunger for these virtues themselves and cry out to God for them. This seems to be the point of Proverbs 2—if students won’t cry aloud for wisdom and seek it as hidden treasure, they won’t ever get it. Therefore (among other things we do), we must exhort our students to ask God for virtue and wisdom—a prayer He delights to answer (James 1).
2. Liturgical Learning
“Liturgical learning” is a phrase that describes the use of the embodied patterns from church worship and tradition for shaping the way we order time, space, and language in our schools and homeschools. We believe that using elements of a liturgical pattern within our classes is an effective way to recover reflection and contemplation as part of learning. We think that it is a faithful application of the classical tradition, and one that differentiates us from other online schools. For example, one could use the following “order of worship” as a pattern for ordering a lesson. This pattern or template is intended as a guide that is not followed to the letter but nonetheless shapes the “learning liturgy” of Scholé Academy classes to distinguish them as scholé courses. Our faculty embrace and love incorporating this approach, and we believe our students will too.
Please note that the pattern of a class is determined by the course instructor. Many of our instructors incorporate elements of the following pattern, but the embodiment of “liturgical learning” will vary from instructor to instructor and class to class.
- Welcome/Greeting: Students are greeted by beautiful image(s) and music, perhaps with an inspirational quotation or key question, which they are asked to contemplate for several minutes.
- Grateful Acknowledgment: The students and the instructor express gratefulness for the art, one another, and the opportunity to study some aspect of God’s creation, mind, nature, humanity, etc.
- Confess What We Need: The students and the instructor confess a need for a disposition, a frame of mind, a virtue, a heart that seeks and calls out for wisdom, etc. A written confession may be read and/or a prayer offered. (Key Scripture: Proverbs 2:1–7).
- Teach/Present/Discuss: The instructor leads a traditional lesson, ensuring that students are engaged and participating.
- Confess What We Know/Have Learned: The instructor leads a summary and review, sometimes taking the form of a “creedal” confession that edifies.
- Expression of Thanksgiving: The instructor (or a mature student) leads the class in expressing gratitude to God, the instructor, and/or other students.
- Benediction/Dismissal: The instructor gives a prepared benediction written by the instructor or from traditional sources.
- Processional: The students return to beautiful music and images. Students are free to leave immediately or remain for quiet contemplation.
As we seek to recover and renew the scholé tradition of education, we know that we will misstep and veer from this path—after all, we don’t know the path nearly as well as we would like. Still, we believe that finding and walking that path will be enriching to students, parents, and instructors. As we seek to recover the classical tradition of scholé, we welcome parental feedback and ideas about how we can better embody scholé in our online classes.
3. Christian Traditions and our School Community
4. Instructor Convictions, Conduct, and Character
Scholé Academy instructors will affirm the dogmas expressed in the Nicene Creed without exception, and will affirm traditional moral teachings of the faith such as:
- the sanctity of life (treating life as sacred from conception until natural death);
- historic orthodox standards of human sexual behavior (including sexual identity and chastity–exclusive monogamous fidelity within marriage and abstinence outside of marriage); and
- Christian marriage is defined as the sacramental union of one man and one woman.
Our instructors will adhere to the multi-faceted Common Tradition (Christianity as expressed universally until the Great Schism of 1054) or “Canonical Theism,” including:
- the centrality of the Bible as Holy Scripture;
- the liturgy as a manifestation of common worship (i.e. Sunday worship, the Eucharist);
- the important role of spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting/feasting, giving, etc.) as formative in the Christian life;
- the Ecumenical Councils as expressions of a common creed;
- the value of religious art (icons, architecture, music, etc.);
- the witness of the church fathers as guardians of the faith (through councils, homilies, commentaries, poetry, and hymns); and
- the saints as role models and witnesses to the truth.
Scholé Academy instructors will conduct their personal and professional lives in accordance with the following:
- Regularly attend Christian worship, pray, and study Scripture;
- Respectfully defer to the authority of students’ parents and clergy on controversial issues;
- Refrain from advocating personal religious convictions that fall outside the Common Tradition;
- Refrain from advocating personal political views in class (a range of political examples may still be utilized in various classes when the instructor determines those inclusions are valuable for instruction of course content) that might not be shared by other Christians who adhere to the Common Tradition;*
- Treat those who sin without shaming, judgment, or condescension; restore students who stumble with compassion, grace, and Christian charity;
- Abstain from behaviors that would hinder their ability to serve as role models to the students; and
- Out of a pastoral concern for students, instructors will feel the freedom to briefly depart from their lesson plans to offer timely life wisdom on issues that affect the lives of their students.
*10/20 Item updated to better communicate policy intent
In line with the previous “Student Virtues” section of this handbook, we expect that our instructors will be individuals who pursue virtue and holiness in their own lives as they are challenged to serve as living examples for our students.
For our live online classes, we use a video-conference software called Zoom, which is both powerful and easy to use. Students join their instructors for real-time “face-to-face” class sessions that mimic a brick-and-mortar classroom experience. Class participants can see and hear each other throughout each session, a feature that facilitates engagement with the material and interaction among the instructor and students. Our instructors can also share their computer screens to show students documents and photos, use a virtual white board to annotate, and even allow students to share their own work on the screen. This streamlined technology allows us to bring our students “face to face” with experienced instructors and engaged peers while affording the flexibility of learning from home.
2. Technical Requirements
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or higher on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS with Mac OS 10.9 or later; Windows 10, 8, or 7. We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be a better solution. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as annotation, which may be used by our instructors for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1.5 Mbps or better. You can test your internet connection here.
Webcam: If you do not have a webcam built into your computer, you will need to purchase an external webcam. There are a plethora of choices found in the usual online shopping retailers—some of the most popular models are made by companies such as Logitech and NexiGo. We also recommend using a headset for audio rather than a built-in microphone and speakers, as this will help reduce background noise heard by the entire class. Make sure to get a headset that is compatible with your device—USB, 3.5 mm, or Bluetooth. Popular brands include Logitech, Plantronics, and Sennheiser, but there are many other good options in a wide range of prices and quality.
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and instructors to gather from around the globe face-to-face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. For reliable performance, after your initial download of Zoom, it is important to frequently update the app as described in the instructions below.
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- At the mandatory parent-student orientation session, parents and students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
To update Zoom:
- Launch the app on your computer.
- Click on your profile image (or initials) in the corner of the app.
- Select “Check for updates” from the dropdown menu.
Normally, students should join their live class sessions by clicking the link found on their Schoology course pages, as seen in the image below. This will launch Zoom (previously installed) automatically, perhaps after giving the browser permission to open the link.
In some exceptional circumstances (power outages, technical difficulties, loss of access to Schoology), students may need alternative ways to join the live class by using the meeting ID or a call-in phone number. These will be provided by the course instructor in their orientation and course syllabi.
Our teachers teach from within the Orthodox Christian faith and will relate class concepts to the Christian faith when pertinent. We seek to present all teaching and learning restfully with scholé. While scholé as an idea originated with the Greeks, it was transformed and extended by the Church, especially in monastic centers of education. St. Raphael School seeks to recover this approach to education that is contemplative, “liturgical,” restful, and full of Christian peace. Our faith commitment is summarized in the Nicene Creed:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made:
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;
And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father;
And we believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
We look for the Resurrection of the dead,
And the Life of the age to come. Amen.
We want to make sure each course is a great learning experience for every enrolled student. The placement process is critical to student success, and it begins with the parents carefully reading course descriptions before they enroll. A detailed class description has been provided for each course Scholé Academy offers. We have asked our instructors to convey their vision for the course: the course objectives; the target grade range; their pedagogical/teaching style; student expectations; and a sketch of how they plan to assess the students, including the skills and virtues students should be cultivating during the course.
Please read these class descriptions carefully to make the best decision for your student(s). Once you have considered each of these questions and have determined that the course looks like a good fit, go ahead and register.
Before you purchase and register for your class, please consider the following categories as you determine if the course will be a good fit for the student:
- Target grade range: If your student falls outside the listed grade range but you still believe that the course will be a good fit, you should seek approval from Scholé Academy for the student to be granted admission into the course. If you are in this situation, please contact us before purchasing the course.
- Minimum and maximum age requirements: Students enrolling in Scholé Academy courses must meet the following age requirements, determined by their age on the first day of class:
- Lower School: 8–13 years old
- Middle School: 12–16 years old
- Upper School :14–19 years old
- Maturity/readiness to discuss controversial topics (Middle & Upper School): From time to time, in our Upper School, students are encouraged to participate in healthy and robust debates on a wide range of topics. We are committed to providing a Christ-centered education to all of our students, but we also encourage our students to wrangle with theological, social, political, and moral issues and questions. Our courses are designed for student engagement and discussion. We expect our instructors to navigate these waters wisely and well; we expect our students to step into the arena of these class discussions with maturity and respect for their cohort and instructors. We will always encourage our students to share their class conversations with their parents and pastors. Every course has its own specific set of necessary background skills, prerequisite skills, and knowledge base. Please visit the course page for the class you are considering, click on the Scholarship Skills tab and review the information provided by the instructor hosting that course.
- General skills: Course pages on our website include a tab with information about general skill requirements for students who wish to enroll in the course. These include computer skills, reading level, penmanship, and personal organization and planning. After reviewing the information we have provided, if you still have questions about the placement of your child, please call us at 866-730-0711; we would be happy to help you determine the best fit for your student.
After registration, Scholé Academy administrators and instructors will verify appropriate placement by reviewing the enrollment information you provided. Depending on the course and previous enrollments of the specific student at Scholé Academy, the instructor may require a placement evaluation. This may include any of the following:
- a Zoom conference with the parent and/or student;
- a written exam;
- writing samples; and/or
- information about previous coursework.
Instructors will be provided with lists of students who may need to complete a placement evaluation at the conclusion of the current school year in late May. Please anticipate contact regarding placement evaluations from instructors after that point and throughout the summer. In the case of math classes, there is a more detailed and specific placement process. See here.
Please note: Registration is not finalized until the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation. Scholé Academy, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to deny admission to a student for any reason.
To best enable us to meet your student’s needs while maintaining high standards for our courses, we would like to invite you to dialogue with us if you think your child might demonstrate a developmental difference that could limit his ability to fully engage with the course and its standard requirements. Our course instructors are not required to be equipped or trained to serve students with learning disabilities. However, in many cases, students with learning challenges are able to participate fully in our courses with outside assistance.
To ensure that we can serve your student well, we ask that you please contact us before registration if your student has any unique learning challenges or has been diagnosed with a learning disability. If you have questions about the placement of your child in one of our classes, please contact us prior to registration, and we would be glad to discuss possibilities for accommodation. In some cases, we may request that the student and/or parent meet with the course instructor to determine the best course of action.
Students with learning differences who are accepted into Scholé Academy courses are enrolled on a provisional basis. To the best of our ability, we seek to ensure proper placement before the start of the school year. However, if an issue becomes apparent within the first three weeks of classes, the parent or instructor may request that the student withdraw for a full refund. Throughout the academic year, parents can explore services at the CSLD and request support at any time. Likewise, instructors may suggest exploring CSLD services during the academic year.
Additionally, families may wish to explore the services provided by the Scholé Academy Center for Students with Learning Differences. Special Needs Instructors are available to help parents navigate curricular decisions, support academic goals, and provide instruction and resources to help students continue to build the skills necessary to meet their life-learning goals. We are firmly committed to the belief that classical education is available to all students, even if it is delivered or received in unique ways.
Scholé Academy chooses to limit class size and generally caps enrollment at 15 students. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. In some instances, instructors choose to lower the enrollment number to better facilitate the desired class dynamic and student engagement. In other cases, class sizes are allowed to rise as high as 18 students pending instructor approval. The Academy will not allow more than 18 students (including auditors) to enroll in any course.
Tuition & Payment Plans
Course purchases may be made online on the Scholé Academy website or by calling the office at 866-730-0711. Tuition for each course is listed on the course page and also at checkout. Scholé Academy has partnered with Affirm, a financing alternative to credit cards and other credit-payment products. Affirm offers instant financing for online purchases to be paid in fixed monthly installments.*
Questions about the details of the payment plans and your eligibility should be directed toward Affirm—the Scholé Academy administration does not have access to your Affirm account information. Learn more about how it works here:
*Subject to eligibility. Payment options through Affirm are provided by these lending partners: affirm.com/lenders.
Withdrawing from a Class
There is a $75 deposit built into the cost of each course. If a placement evaluation has not been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted a full refund, including the full $75 deposit. If a placement evaluation has been administered, a $35 fee is deducted from the original deposit to compensate the instructor for the placement evaluation, and the remainder of the charges are refunded.
After May 1, withdrawals are granted a full course refund, less the $75 deposit, with a couple of conditions:
- Parents must initiate a substantive conversation with the instructor regarding the possibility of withdrawal and/or describe significant student struggles, scheduling conflicts, or other concerns with the course prior to the end of the second week of class. If those conversations are in process prior to the end of the second week of class, and if the student ultimately withdraws, a full course refund will be provided, less the $75 deposit.
- If parents initiate a conversation with the instructor regarding the possibility of withdrawal and/or describe significant student struggles, scheduling conflicts, or other concerns with the course after the end of the second week of class and if a withdrawal occurs, no refund will be given. For courses which meet once per week, the add/drop period is extended to three weeks.
If a family withdraws (with or without a refund), the family is not entitled to access any of the work, assignments, handouts, recordings, projects, or exercises provided by the instructor during the student’s enrollment. The student will be withdrawn from his Schoology classroom and all access to the course.
All withdrawals are final.
Even if the student is withdrawn without a refund, the family should not expect those funds to remain as a financial credit for future services. The student cannot be readmitted to the same course later in the year citing their full payment without refund. If a family withdraws a student during an academic year and they wish to re-enroll in the same course later that same year, an interview with the family, instructor, and principal will take place to determine whether or not to re-admit the student and what, if any, additional fees should be paid for the re-enrollment. If the family withdraws a student during an academic year and they wish to later enroll in a different course during the same year, the family will pay for a brand new course enrollment.
If a student is enrolled in a course and wishes to withdraw and pursue private tutoring instead, the student should officially withdraw from the course (see policy above) and then purchase additional tutoring. Course purchase funds do not transfer to tutor purchases.
Should a student withdraw from a course before the conclusion of the term, the instructor will generate an official Grade Report from Schoology and write a brief narrative of the reason for withdrawal. The Grade Report will only reflect the course work completed and the course will be marked incomplete. These documents will be placed in the end-of-year grade report folder on Schoology for that course and will remain as part of the student record there.
If a given course is designated “full with waiting list” and you’d like to be added to the waiting list, please use the waiting list link on the course page or send us your request, including your name, phone number, and email address, as well as the following student information: name, grade (20XX–XY school year), and date of birth. If a seat becomes available, we will notify those on the waiting list in the order in which the requests were received. In some cases, Scholé Academy may offer an additional section of a course if the course fills up quickly. In this case, we will notify those on the waiting list when the new section becomes available for registration.
Late Registration and Ongoing Enrollment
While the official add/drop period technically ends after the second week of class, Scholé Academy does allow students to enroll in courses that are in progress throughout the academic year. Parents interested in late-enrollment should review course offerings online, determine the course section, and contact the instructor directly through email to initiate the process. Instructor emails are available on our website.
These late additions to classes are managed on a case-by-case basis, and they are allowed only with instructor approval. After the add/drop deadline, all instructors are welcome to consider their courses closed and not allow additional students to enrolls, even if seats are still available. The instructor is the best judge of class dynamics and placement concerns. If he does not believe a student is adequately prepared for the course, or if the addition of a new student may negatively impact the already-established class dynamic, the instructor is at liberty to refuse a new enrollment.
Late enrollments begin with an interview between the parents and instructor. If the instructor is willing to consider a late enrollment, he will build a transition plan for the parents to review. That plan will include a variety of placement evaluations, transition assignments, modified due dates, etc.
Once the parents and instructor have come to an agreement about the necessary requirements for enrollment, the family will be billed for the enrollment. If a student is permitted to join a class after the end of the official add/drop period, the cost of enrollment is full price through the end of the first semester, and half price through the end of the second semester. We do not price classes on a per-diem rate.
Purchases cannot be made through the website after the end of the add/drop period. Parents who have been approved to enroll their student after that time will call the main office and make their payment by phone. Payment will be due in full—payment plans are not available for late enrollments.
Please note: If a family wishes to enroll their student in a year-long class but the student will not begin until the second semester, the family may purchase half of the course ahead of time at 50% normal tuition. However, priority will be given to students who pay full price and enter the course prior to the beginning of the second semester. If the course fills at any time prior to the beginning of the second semester, the family of the second-semester student will be provided with a full refund, including the $75 deposit.
All late-enrollment purchases are final. We do not provide a withdrawal window for our late enrollments. If a family determines that the course is not a good fit after the enrollment is processed and paid for, the student may be withdrawn without a refund. The tuition for the original purchase cannot be applied to a course transfer of any kind.
Student Auditing a Class
Student-auditing is permitted on a case-by-case basis and with instructor approval. The charge for auditing a Scholé Academy course is 70 percent of the tuition fee.
While student auditors will have access to their Schoology classrooms, student auditors will not be responsible to take any examinations or complete any assignments. Instructors will not assess any written work of auditors. Student auditors may not participate in class discussion except when required by the instructor. Instructors will not be obligated to provide access to videos of missed class sessions or review missed material with the auditing student if he is absent. No grades or end-of-year grade report will be provided.
If a student has signed up to audit a course but the course enrollments fill before the end of the add/drop period and a fully participating student wishes to enroll in the class, the auditing student will be withdrawn from the course to free up the seat for the fully participating student. In this case, the family of the auditing student would be provided with a full refund, including the $75 deposit.
If a student begins the year as a full-paying student and after the add/drop period switches to audit status, no refund will be given. In this case, the instructor and the parent can discuss which parts of the course the student will still be allowed to enjoy and which parts will be reserved for fully participating students. Generally speaking, all auditing students will be restricted in their class experience as described above.
If your student is interested in auditing a class, please contact us.
Class Cancellations or Changes
On rare occasions, Scholé Academy might have to cancel a class, move students to a new section of a class with a different instructor, or replace an instructor (usually for health reasons). For these cases, please note the following:
- If a class has been cancelled, a full refund (including the full deposit) will be issued to parents of participating students.
- If a student has been moved to a new section of the class with a different instructor, parents will be permitted to withdraw their student from the course and receive a full refund within 10 business days of receiving notice of the new assignment.
- If an instructor resigns from a course for any reason and a new instructor is installed, parents will be permitted to withdraw from the course and receive a full refund within 10 business days of receiving notice of the new instructor’s assignment.
- If an instructor takes an extended leave of absence but does not resign from his class and is still monitoring the course and the substitute during the extended absence, the family will not be permitted to withdraw from the course with a refund. Any questions or concerns should be raised with the instructor, who should address those grievances in a timely fashion.
Transfers are only permitted prior to the end of the second week of class and if space is available in the new course. Should a student wish to transfer to another section of the same course with a new instructor, the original instructor will generate an official Grade Report from Schoology and provide it to the new instructor.
Students who wish to transfer after the end of the add/drop period must first withdraw from their current enrollment (see Withdrawal policy above for specifics and refunds), and then re-enroll (initiating a new purchase) in the new course they wish to take (see “Late Registration and Ongoing Enrollment” above). After the add/drop period has closed, teacher payments have been calculated and payments have been made to instructors. Therefore, if a family wants to transfer from a course with one instructor to another course with a different instructor, the family will first need to withdraw from the original course and then process a fresh enrollment and payment.
Scholé Academy does not allow families to “transfer” from course enrollment to tutoring enrollment. Please contact your instructor and the principal if your student needs to withdraw from his course and consider pursuing tutoring as an option instead. If a family purchases a course and subsequently decides to withdraw and pursue private course instruction prior to the end of the add/drop period, the course deposit can be waived so long as the tutoring hours are purchased prior to processing receiving a refund for the course. All withdrawals will be processed according to the policy noted above.
One week prior to the start of a course, the instructor will hold a brief orientation session for parents and their students. This session is an opportunity for students, parents, and instructors to introduce themselves to one another, test the classroom technology, and ensure everything is in working order for the first day of class. Parent and student participation is required.
Details regarding the orientation session will be provided by the instructor via email during the month of August. If you or your student are unable to attend the orientation session, please contact the course instructor for access to the recording of this session.
Class Participation and Webcams
Our classes are live and highly interactive, with students regularly interacting with their instructor and peers and participating in class discussion. Students are expected to attend classes with their videos turned on and to function as a full participant in each class, contributing to the class dynamic and success of the entire cohort. Students who do not turn on their videos during class will be removed from the Zoom classroom and marked absent. We remain vigilant in providing security for our online classes. If an attendee logs into a Zoom classroom without their video turned on and is unresponsive, it is the policy of Scholé Academy to remove that attendee from the session. However, if a student is having a legitimate technology issue, the instructor will use his best judgment to respond appropriately.
Absence Policy and Class Recordings
There are, of course, circumstances, both planned and unplanned, in which students must miss a class. In such circumstances, we provide students with a recording of the live class session so that they may watch the session they missed. Whenever possible, we ask that students alert their instructor of their absence in advance.
While recordings of live sessions are a helpful tool for occasional absences, they are not a sufficient replacement for class participation in the long term. With this in mind:
- We allow a maximum of nine absences for yearlong courses that meet three times per week.
- We allow a maximum of six absences for yearlong courses that meet two times per week.
- We allow a maximum of three absences for one-semester courses that meet two times per week.
- During the summer term, absence permissions are handled by the course instructor on a case-by-case basis.
Please note: Though we will endeavor to have recordings for each and every class, we cannot guarantee that we will have recordings 100 percent of the time (e.g., occasionally we run into technical difficulties). Our instructors are available to their students in class, via Schoology messaging, and during office hours. If your student has to miss a class, anything you can do to minimize the extra work required of the instructor would be greatly appreciated. As you might expect, instructors cannot reteach the material via email. However, our instructors are accessible to their students and will provide assistance as needed.
If, at any time, a student’s absences begin to near the maximum number of missed days, the course instructor will reach out to begin a conversation with the parents and take meaningful steps to help resolve the problem. The school principal will also be made aware of the concern.
If a student reaches or exceeds the maximum number of missed days, the course instructor and the principal will work diligently with the family to resolve the issue. If the parent is unresponsive, or if no resolution can be reached, we will suspend the student’s enrollment in the course until the issue can be resolved. We will compassionately work with families to find a reasonable way forward. However, without resolution, the student will be withdrawn from the course without refund.
Our students live all over the world, and there are occasionally natural events that prevent a family from being able to attend their scheduled classes. Please make your instructor aware of any extensive damage or displacement due to natural disasters. We are happy to accommodate families in these cases.
One final note: To accommodate our Orthodox families who observe Holy Week and Pascha on their own liturgical calendar (which does not always coincide with Western Holy Week and Easter), we have created a flexible absence and assignment-submission policy. Holy Week is a busy time for many families, and since our Orthodox families will not always enjoy Western Easter week as vacation, we have asked our Scholé Academy instructors to modify the attendance policy and provide flexible assignment submission deadlines to those Orthodox families who elect not to attend classes during Eastern Holy Week. Orthodox student absences that week will not be counted toward the maximum number of missed days. Students and instructors should work to coordinate assignment deadlines as needed.
Major Feast Day Observance
While we do take off Holy Week and add an additional week to Christmas Break for Old Calendar Nativity, we do not take off for every major feast day. In an Orthodox parish school setting, it would be quite natural to excuse all students from class to attend the festal liturgy and then return to classes. The reality of our situation is much more complex—we have homeschooling families who observe Old and New Calendars; we have families who have services across several times zones; and there are different local and jurisdictional practices (evening vs. morning services). After polling families and considering various options, we’ve discovered that there isn’t a way to make a general policy that will satisfy everyone. Even if we were to cancel a few classes or a whole day of school, it is unlikely that the majority of the students would benefit.
Thus, we remind our teachers and strongly encourage families to give preference to religious observance when it conflicts with class. We record all of our classes, and teachers will excuse students who miss for these reasons. Students may simply watch the recording after the liturgy and they will be prepared for the next day of class.
Scholé Grading Philosophy
While Scholé Academy courses will be “restful,” we also recognize the need to provide grades for students who will be using a course as part of their prepared college transcript. It’s a delicate balance to achieve both restful learning and excellent academic performance. Earning a specific grade should not overshadow achievement goals for mastery of a discipline. Often, for disciplines in classical education, learning the concepts introduced will be a necessary and significant component of future success in upper-level classical education. In that sense, attaining mastery is its own reward. Instructors may apply this grading philosophy differently in lower school than in middle and upper school, but this is the intention behind all Scholé Academy grading practices.
Instructors typically assign the following grades based on students’ level of achievement: magna cum laude (with great praise), cum laude (with praise), satis (sufficient, satisfactory), and non satis (not sufficient). Ideally, every average student working diligently should do praiseworthy work (cum laude). Those who excel beyond this expectation will be the magna cum laude students. Students who do adequate but not praiseworthy work should be designated satis. Non satis means lacking sufficiency or adequacy. These assessments are not mere grading instruments but ways for instructors to signal progress towards mastery with students and parents.
We recognize that some parents are required to prepare transcripts so they can report the courses and grades earned by their students. Scholé Academy does not provide official transcripts for parents to use in their reporting of courses and grades. However, If your student is enrolled in a lower school course and you require either a traditional numeric or letter grade, please notify the instructor. Middle and upper school instructors will provide traditional numerical grades, but they will also provide more meaningful narrative feedback and progress reports.
While Scholé Academy serves homeschoolers by providing online instruction, we do not replace parents as the administrators of homeschools. As such, the ultimate authority on a student’s grade is his parent. If a parent feels the need to modify the instructor’s assessment in his own records, as the administrator, he should feel free to do so. However, only students who complete the required work for a given class at a level deemed satisfactory by the instructor will receive a grade report from Scholé Academy.
There are occasionally times when a student’s behavior necessitates academic probation, a change in enrollment status, or withdrawal after the start of a course. These situations will be handled with compassion and great care. Most of the specific details of the situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The instructor will consult with the principal when the student’s performance indicates that academic probation, a change in enrollment status, or withdrawal might be necessary.
In other cases of poor student performance (such as a student ill-suited to the demands of the course, excessive absences, failure to submit homework, refusal to participate, refusal to turn on video or audio, egregious behavior, etc.), the instructor will first reach out to the parents, making them aware of the situation(s), and asking for their assistance in resolving those concerns.
If, after the meeting, the behavior continues, it might be necessary for the principal to become more involved in the situation. It might be necessary to place the student (and family) on academic probation.
Academic probation may consist of the following requirements that must be fulfilled by the parents and students. An individualized plan addressing the concerns of the specific situation will be determined by the course instructor.
- The parents will agree to take a more active role, maintaining good communication and serving as a partner on the home front in the following ways:
- The parents will help encourage the student to faithfully attend classes, arrive on time, stay for the duration of the classes, be sufficiently prepared for each class, and engage appropriately in class.
- The parents will regularly check in with the student to ensure his assignments and other homework are completed with his best effort.
- The student will agree to faithfully attend all classes, arrive on time, stay for the duration of each class, and engage appropriately during class.
- The student will agree to faithfully submit homework on time, complete assignments in their entirety, and apply a best effort to coursework.
- The student will agree to maintain good communication with the instructor, helping the instructor better understand where the student might be struggling or when he is feeling overwhelmed.
- The student and family agree to achieve satisfactory-level work (or higher) during the process. The student and family agree to avoid absences and tardy arrivals during the process.
- The family will be provided with a reasonable window of opportunity to make adjustments and improve grades and performance. The student will be reevaluated at a specified date to reassess the situation.
If academic probation is a success, the instructor, the principal, and the parents can discuss which, if any, of the requirements may be lifted, and continue on with positive growth.
Should the academic probation not yield the desired results, it may become necessary to move the student to audit status (a refund will not be given), or officially withdraw him from a course. In these cases, if the student is not exhibiting virtuous behavior, and the ongoing concerns are within the scope of poor student scholarship, willful negligence, pride, laziness, etc., it might be time to withdraw the student. This decision will be made by the principal and the instructor, both of whom will discuss this with the parents. The specifics of this process will be handled on a case-by-case basis and in collaboration with the principal.
In the cases where a hard-working, virtuous student is facing an unexpected family crisis or a change to his schedule, the instructor and family may elect to allow the student to continue on as a course auditor. In these cases, the student may attend classes and participate but will not be required to submit assignments or earn grades or credit for the course. Despite the change in status, a refund will not be given.
Particularly for our younger students, plagiarism can be an issue—though not necessarily because the student is willfully ignoring academic guidelines or intending to deceive the instructor. In many of these cases, students are unaware of common citation rules, have not been instructed about how and when to use them, or do not understand the necessity for them. Instructors of these younger students understand that this may be the case and will respond with grace and appropriate instruction if citations are required for a student assignment and/or upon a first occurrence of problematic submissions.
It is also the responsibility of parents to stay current with student assignments and recognize where some home instruction might also be necessary to bring a student up to grade-level regarding common citation practices. Parents, students, and instructors can make use of the Owl Purdue resources when teaching students how to include citations in their submitted work.
In other cases, however, some students do willfully engage in academic dishonesty. In the event that a concern arises regarding academic dishonesty, the steps listed below should be taken.
The instructor will do the following:
- Reserve judgment and allow the facts to be revealed.
- Reach out to the parents and student and make them aware of the concern. The instructor will explore whether there is any way the student could have legitimately misunderstood the scope of liberty he was allowed to take when completing the assignment.
- Consider the academic maturity of the student: Is it possible the student wasn’t aware of how to complete the assignment in an academically responsible way
If, after exploring the situation, the instructor and parents are confident that the student has not been academically dishonest, the following actions will be taken:
- If there were any areas where stronger communication could have prevented a misunderstanding, the instructor will take those steps to clarify for the sake of this student and the other students in the class.
- If the student is in need of citation skills or other reference skills, the instructor will make a recommendation to the parents so that the student can be better prepared in the future. These resources can also be made available to the rest of the class for their benefit.
If, however, it becomes evident that the student was academically dishonest, the following actions will be taken:
- The student must apologize, in a meaningful way, for his behavior.
- The student must redo the assignment. The parents and the instructor may decide if the new submission will earn full credit, partial credit, or no credit. The parents will actively participate in this decision.
- The parents and student should understand that future instances of this behavior will result in a more serious response, which may impact the student’s grade and/or ongoing enrollment in the course and/or Scholé Academy.
At Scholé Academy, we encourage our community of parents, students, and instructors to operate under the Matthew 18 Principle—a common conflict-resolution process that encourages each member to follow the course of action provided in Matthew 18:15–17:
If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
If, at any time, parents have a concern regarding their own student, the course, or the instructor, we encourage them to contact the course instructor as soon as the concern arises. Likewise, should our instructors have any concerns about a student, they will reach out to the parent or student right away. Our instructors wish to keep lines of communication with their students and students’ families open at all times, and the vast majority of concerns can be resolved quickly if expressed promptly. With the exception of very minor concerns, we encourage parents to set up a call with the course instructor to discuss the matter over the phone. We have found phone and/or video conversations to be far more effective for resolving concerns and conflicts than email, which naturally lends itself to ambiguity and misinterpretation.
If a parent has already spoken with the course instructor and is dissatisfied with the resolution of the issue, the parent should not hesitate to contact the respective school principal who will be happy to hear and address the concern.
Throughout the school year, Scholé Academy and St. Raphael School will offer a variety of community events, such as Open House, College Night, Latin Colloquia, and Coffee with the Principal and Instructors. Some of these events are open to the public, and some of them are intended for our communities only. For these community events, parents’ and students’ attendance is welcome but not required. Parents should also feel free to spread the word when we offer events to the general public.
One additional special event will be a surprise “Snow Day.” There are many benefits to homeschooling and online education. One thing many students miss by taking courses online is the absence of the unexpected Snow Day (let’s be honest: instructors love them too!). Scholé Academy instructors will plan to provide one surprise Snow Day during the winter months. Each instructor will select a day to declare a Snow Day for each of his classes. Parents will be provided with more details as the day approaches. Shhh…it’s a secret!
13. Student-to-Student Communications and Conduct
Students and parents are encouraged to build relationships with other members of our community. We hope to foster an environment that allows families from across the United States and the world to connect and grow together in their pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful!
Students (particularly those in Middle and Upper School) enjoy meeting new kids and building new friendships through their Scholé Academy courses. We’re delighted to see this happening.
It is the responsibility of parents to monitor the relationships their students are forging with other Scholé Academy students, as well as the social media tools their students use to communicate with others outside of our community.
Please note that while Scholé Academy uses Zoom Video Conferencing to host classes and instructors supervise the interactions with students during live class sessions, Scholé Academy and its instructors do not take responsibility for nor do they monitor the use of student’s individual Zoom rooms or chats that take place outside of live classes.
Scholé Academy is not responsible for the conversations, meetings, or interactions of individual students who use their social engagement platforms to connect with other Scholé Academy students or those outside of our community. Social engagement platforms include Google Docs, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Schoology, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
If a student plans to connect with other members of our Scholé Academy community for socialization outside of class time and class assignments, parents are required to register on the Parent Directory for each class in which their student is enrolled so they can mitigate and resolve any issues that arise during unsupervised student engagement. Please contact the principal if you wish to opt out of the Parent Directories.
We fully support our parents and want to respect their authority and governance of their own children. When parents and students are communicating with members of our community , we hope those relationships will reflect the fruit of the spirit as described in Galatians 5:22–23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Please note: Parents confirm this agreement by enrolling their student in a Scholé Academy course.
Teaching children is a noble activity but also one that can create anxiety. After all, to hire someone to teach your child touches upon and impacts 1) your money, 2) your faith and life philosophy, and 3) the soul of your child. It is important, therefore, that we clarify what each party (Scholé Academy and the paying parent) expects from the other and to commit to treat one another with respect and charity.
What follows is a general description of what we (Scholé Academy) pledge to provide to the parent or guardian as the paying customer for our courses. This section is followed by a description of what the customer pledges to Scholé Academy, including the various logistical and financial responsibilities and student requirements. We look forward to a successful partnership, serving each other for the education of the next generation.
1. Scholé Academy Responsibilities
- Scholé Academy will provide qualified instructors to teach students according to excellent academic standards while also cultivating noble affection and virtues in the souls and minds of students.
- Scholé Academy instructors will follow the scholé learning philosophy of restful learning in a congenial online atmosphere.
- Scholé Academy instructors will provide meaningful assessments to help students and parents gauge the academic progress of students and ensure they are on the path to mastery.
- Scholé Academy instructors will neither upbraid nor humiliate students, but they will seek to guide, mentor, and correct students (including class behavior) in accordance with Christian love and wisdom. When a sensitive issue, offense, or grievance arises, instructors will seek to speak to students privately whenever possible.
- Scholé Academy expects that the vast majority of discipline and behavior issues will be handled by means of meaningful conversation between the instructor and student.
- Discipline and behavior issues that cannot be resolved by conversation between the instructor and student will be brought next to the parent or guardian’s attention.
- Discipline and behavior issues will only be brought to the Scholé Academy principal when no resolution has been achieved after conversation between the instructor and parent.
- Scholé Academy will provide high-standard virtual classroom software and learning management system software, offering general support and guidance in order that parents and students can use these tools well.
- Scholé Academy instructors recognize that parents have purchased a portion of their time and will set aside their course time for the purposes of course instruction, endeavoring to keep that time clear of personal obligations and responsibilities. This includes the instructor having regular childcare arranged for their own children. (Of course, we hope that families will be understanding if, on rare occasions, personal needs might dictate that the instructor adjust these expectations.)
- Scholé Academy instructors will dress appropriately, avoiding sloppy attire and appearance and instead dress comfortably, yet still present a professional, tidy appearance.
- Scholé Academy instructors (teaching in the Great Hall) will be respectful of the Christian traditions represented in their classrooms, while still endeavoring to shape the loves of the child and cultivate virtues through ecumenical Christian instruction. (See the “Christian Traditions and our School Community” section above.)
- St. Raphael School instructors will endeavor to integrate Orthodox piety, history, theology, and practices into their courses, helping students see the relevance of our faith to every part of learning and life.
2. Parent and Guardian Responsibilities
- Parents and guardians will encourage students to be diligent in the following areas:
- timely completion and submission of all assignments
- coming to class on time
- participating in class discussions
- maintaining respectful behavior in class
- Outside of class, parents and guardians will seek to reinforce and complement the “restful learning” approach of Scholé Academy.
- Parents will assist students by reviewing homework and written assignments, and helping students stay organized, on task, and on pace.
- Parents will review the annual Academic Calendar to ensure that students are prepared ahead of time for upcoming classes.
- Parents and guardians will trust the assessments of qualified instructors who are masters of their art and will generally refrain from challenging the assessments of instructors. Parents and guardians will, however, seek to understand the academic progress of students and engage instructors with questions when they need clarity and guidance in order to help their students.
- Parents and guardians will encourage respectful behavior of students in class and in all communications with other students and instructors.
- Parents and guardians will bring any offense or grievance privately to the instructor for resolution. Only after a discussion with the instructor fails to bring resolution will an offense or grievance be brought to the attention of the Scholé Academy principal.
- Parents and guardians will ensure that students engage in the live classes with their videos turned on. Parents will likewise strive to ensure that students are protected from distractions while in class—especially outside chats and social media.
- Parents and students will refrain from taking screen-shots of live classes or Schoology pages and sharing or posting those pictures in public places accessible to people outside of our school community or the student’s family.
- Parents and students will not share or post Zoom Meeting ID numbers in public places accessible to people outside of our school community or the student’s family.
- Parents and guardians will encourage their students to respectfully participate in all aspects of their courses, including class discussions, projects, peer evaluations, exchange of ideas, homework submissions, and shared class resources.
- Parents and guardians will maintain good communication with Scholé Academy instructors and ensure that students are able to access the learning management system online. Parents and guardians will notify instructors and the Scholé Academy administration (at firstname.lastname@example.org) of any change in email address or phone number.
- Parents and guardians will ensure that students make up any missed classes by viewing class recordings (distributed by the instructor) and completing any missed assignments. They will also help students follow the course description and syllabus, which will be distributed by Scholé Academy instructors.
- Parents and guardians will ensure their student adheres to the attendance policy (see above).
- Parents and guardians will ensure that suitable computer equipment (see “Classroom Technology” section above) is available and working so that students can access the online courses and use them well.
- Parents with two or more students enrolled in the same Scholé Academy course may allow up to three students to use one computer, but parents must be responsible to ensure that audio and video will work well with the configuration. If the configuration will not work well, parents will be required to provide one working computer for each student. Scholé Academy encourages parents to provide one working computer for each student if at all possible.