School Handbook 2019 - 2020

School Handbook

2019 - 2020

This handbook provides school-specific to North Carolina Cyber Academy; please be sure to read it closely. This document may be updated during the year as needed.


Table of Contents

Section 1: School Mission and Overview        6

1.1 - School Mission and Overview        6

1.3 - General Legal Compliance        7

1.4 - Title I Parent Involvement Policy        7

1.5 - Required Student Safety Training for School Staff        7

1.6 - Campus Visitors        11

1.7 - The 2019 to 2020 School Calendar        12

1.8 - Required Instructional Hours        13

1.9 - Emergency Closure Information        13

Section 2: Enrollment, Withdrawal and Transfers        14

2.1 - Enrollment Eligibility        14

2.2 - Max Age to Enroll        14

2.3 - School Requests for Student Records from Another School        14

2.4 - Enrollment of Students Expelled from Another School        15

2.5 - Removal from School        15

2.6 - Enrollment After the Start of a School Year or Semester        15

2.7 - Dual Enrollment in Another School        15

2.8 - Withdrawing from School        16

2.9 - Mandatory Testing        17

2.10 - Reading Proficiency and Notice Requirements        18

Section 3: Attendance        20

3.1 - Marking and Verifying Attendance        20

3.2 - Attendance Codes        20

3.3 - Hours of Schooling        20

3.4 - “Missing a Day of School” at NCCA        20

3.5 - Learning Coach Responsibilities        21

3.6 - School Responsibilities        22

3.7 - Attendance and Escalation Systems        23

3.8 - Truancy        23

3.9 - Compulsory Attendance        24

3.10 - Non Response to Contacts        25

Section 4: Grading and Student Evaluation        26

4.1 - 10/20 Day Rule for Dropped Courses w/ an EOC Exam        26

4.2 - Final Course Grades for Students Taking High School Level Courses        27

4.3 - Credit by Demonstrated Mastery        27

4.4 - Repeating a Course for Credit        29

4.5 - National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society        29

Section 5: High School Program and Policies        30

5.1 - Promotion        30

5.2 - Graduation and Diploma Requirements        30

5.2.1 - Future Ready Core Course of Study Requirements        31

5.2.2 - Future Ready Occupational Course of Study Requirements        31

5.3 - Community Service Requirement        32

5.4 - National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility        32

5.5 - Grades and Grade Point Averages (GPA)        33

5.6 - Class Rank        33

5.7 - Release of High School Education Record (NC Official Transcripts)        34

5.8 - Course PreRequisites        34

5.9 - Repeating a Course for Credit        34

5.10 - Schedule Changes        35

5.11 - Transcripts        35

5.12 - Transfer Credits from Other Schools        35

5.13 - Enrollment After the School Year or Semester Begins        35

5.13 - Credit for Course Work Completed in a Non-Standard School Program        36

5.14 - High School Courses Taken in Middle School        37

5.15 - College Courses        37

5.16 - Independent Study        37

5.17 - Driver’s Eligibility Certificates        38

5.18 - Student Driving to Sanctioned Events        38

Section 6: Services for Special Populations        40

6.1 - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - Eligible Students        40

6.2 - Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - Eligible Students        41

6.3 - AIG Students        43

Section 7: Conduct, Grievance, Due Process and Communication        44

7.1 - Freedom of Expression        44

7.2 - Flag Display and Pledge of Allegiance        44

7.3 - Bullying and Other Prohibited Behavior        44

7.4 - Complaints        47

8.5 - Privacy and Confidentiality        47

7.6 - Bystanders        47

7.7 - Suspension, Expulsion, Emergency Removal – Student Due Process        48

7.8 - Discipline Measures        49

7.9 - Behaviors Leading to Suspension        50

7.10 - Behaviors Leading to Expulsion        52

7.11 - Academic Honesty and Plagiarism        52

7.11.1 - Consequences of Plagiarism - Grades K through 8        53

7.11.2 - Consequences of Plagiarism - Grades 9 through 12        54

7.12 - Grievance Policy for Parents/Guardians        54

7.13 - Parent/Guardian Remedies        55

7.14 - Grievance Process for Parents/Guardians        55

Section 8: Educational Materials Provided by the School        57

8.1 - Technology Provided by the School        57

8.2 - Use of Personal Equipment and Software        57

8.4 - Internet Safety Policy        57


Section 1: School Mission and Overview

1.1 - School Mission and Overview

The Board of North Carolina Cyber Academy (the “Board”) welcomes you: its students and parents. This handbook, and other school materials provide direction and information for our school community. 

North Carolina Cyber Academy (“NCCA”) is a North Carolina public charter school open to any student eligible to attend a traditional North Carolina public school. NCCA was established as one of two authorized “pilot” public virtual charter schools resulting from legislation passed in 2014. (NC Session Law 2014-100.) As required by the North Carolina Charter School statutes (the “NC Charter School Act”) and NCCA’s charter agreement (the “Charter”) with the North Carolina State Board of Education (“State Board”), NCCA is independently operated by a North Carolina non-profit corporation and its Board of Directors. The Board is ultimately responsible for the school’s operation and accountable to the State Board and the public to conform to all laws and charter provisions.

 As part of its state-approved Charter, NCCA is partnering with Edgenuity (“”), a nationally-established virtual K-12 education provider.  As such NCCA has contracted with Edgenuity to provide curriculum and other related educational services and expertise under the direction of the NCCA Board.  This School -Specific Handbook provides particular information related to the operation of NCCA.  As the name indicates, it is essential that parents be familiar with this handbook to understand the schools’ processes and standards.

As needed, this document will be updated periodically.

1.2 - School Information

Phone Number

984-262-9237

Fax Number

919-406-0063

Address

2800 Meridian Parkway, Suite 150

Durham, NC 27713

Hours

Monday through Friday, 8:00a - 4:00p

Technical & General Support

1-888-846-2998

Superintendent

Nathan Currie

Assistant Superintendent

Director of Academics

Director of Operations

Executive Director of Human Resources

Director of Finance

Rebecca Smith

Domina Blount

Christina Robinson

James ‘Bo’ Mullins

Charles Baldwin

Internal Mail

All staff and support services are located in the Education Management System’s address book.

Board of Directors

Mrs. Bridget Phifer, Chair

Mrs. Jill Hammergren, Secretary

Mrs. Jenene Seymour

Mrs. Debora Williams

Dr. James Davis

Mr. Avery Staley

Mr. Leland Davis

Mrs. Shauntae Jordan

Dr. Shirley Arrington

Dr. Leory Wray

1.3 - General Legal Compliance

The school shall comply with all state laws, the Charter School Act, North Carolina Non-profit law, and all other applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. The school shall be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations and shall not charge tuition or fees, except that it may charge fees that are charged by the contiguous local school district in which the school’s main offices are located.

Although NCCA is generally exempt from most state education statutes and regulations, there are exceptions to this.  Consequently, the school will abide by regular education rules related to special education; health and safety rules; open meetings, public records, and record retention requirements; financial reports and audits; and student reports, retention, and testing.

1.4 - Title I Parent Involvement

A primary goal at NCCA is to encourage parent involvement. Please visit our website to review a copy of NCCA’s Title 1 Parent Involvement Policy and Compact developed as part of the Title 1 funding plan. Feedback is welcome; please send an internal message to the Family Engagement Coordinator at any time.

1.5 - Required Student Safety Trainings for School Staff

Health and Wellness

NCCA students will typically work from home or other remote locations. However, because there will be occasions when they will gather or meet with other students or staff, the school staff must be trained on and comply with various health and safety requirements applicable to public schools. These include the following:

Communicable Diseases.
A communicable disease or condition is defined as an illness due to an infectious agent, or its toxic products which
are transmitted directly or indirectly to a person from an infected person or animal. This section applies to all legally reportable communicable diseases, including HIV and AIDS, as set forth in state law.

In order to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, universal health and safety precautions, which include regulations regarding the cleanup of all bodily fluids (including blood), shall be distributed by the principal or his or her designee and shall be followed by all school employees.

In accordance with state law, the principal or his or her designee shall report suspected cases of reportable communicable diseases or conditions to a county health director for investigation and shall provide available factual information to substantiate the report.  

Any student suffering from a communicable disease or condition shall follow all control measures issued by the county health director and shall take all necessary precautions to prevent the transmission of the disease or condition. Any school employee who has reason to believe that a student is suffering from a reportable communicable disease and failing to follow safe practices shall report this to the principal, supervisor, or health director. Failure to follow control measures may result in disciplinary action. The parent(s) of a student suffering from a communicable disease should inform the principal so that appropriate accommodations and precautions may be put in place.

If the county health director notifies the principal that a student with a communicable disease or condition may pose a threat to public health, the student and his or her parents shall cooperate with the health director to eliminate the threat. It is the responsibility of the health director to determine when the school community must be notified of the outbreak of a contagious disease. school officials shall cooperate with the health director in issuing such notification.

It is the responsibility of the county health director to notify the school if a student infected with the HIV virus is enrolled or scheduled for admission to the school, and if there is a serious risk of transmission of the virus by the student.

Immunizations.
No child may attend the school unless a certificate of immunization is provided to the school indicating that the child has received the immunizations required by state law. If on the first day of attendance the child does not present such a certificate, the child's parent will be notified. The parent shall normally have thirty calendar days from the date of first attendance to obtain the required immunizations for the child.  If a vaccine reasonably requires more than thirty calendar days to complete, and a suitable physician reliably verifies this fact, a reasonable extension of time may be granted.  At the end of the thirty calendar days or extended period, if the student has not received the required immunizations, the school shall withdraw the student from the school. In accordance with state law, the school provides for medical and religious exemptions of immunizations.

Medications.
If a child must be medicated (including over-the-counter and prescribed medication) during any in-person school activity and the parent cannot be on location to administer the medication, only the principal's designee may administer the medication in compliance with the parent’s written, signed, and dated instructions. The principal or his or her designee reserves the right to require medical certification by a suitable doctor or to seek advice from a doctor retained by the school to determine the appropriateness of administering any medicine. No teacher will be required to administer medication against his or her wishes. Minimally, the parent’s medication instructions must include the following:

Authorization forms to give medication on campus and medication records must be retained in the student’s confidential medical file.

Exceptions to Medication Administration:

Middle and high school students may, upon proper written authorization and approval by the principal or his or her designee, self-medicate with medications that are labeled and packaged in the original container and are required for a medical condition. Any student with diabetes or asthma or a student subject to anaphylactic (life threatening) reactions will be allowed to carry and self-administer his or her medication if the parent, physician, and student sign a completed medication request form and the student demonstrates appropriate proficiency in delivering the medication. Self-administering privileges will be withdrawn if the student exhibits a lack of responsibility towards self or others in regards to his or her medication.  Any student who abuses the privileges described in this section may be subject to disciplinary action.

Diabetes Plans and Compliance Reports.

The school shall implement rules and procedures for students with diabetes in accordance with State Board of Education requirements and G.S. 115C 375.3.  This includes making available necessary information and staff development to teachers and school personnel in order to appropriately support and assist students with diabetes in accordance with their individual diabetes care plans. The Board shall report to the State Board of Education annually on the number of students at the school on such plans and the Board’s compliance with state law.

Annual Information for Students and Parents.

The school shall provide, among other things, health information at the beginning of each school year regarding the following:

  1. Parents will be provided with information regarding meningococcal meningitis and influenza (and their vaccines) including the causes, symptoms, how meningococcal meningitis and influenza are spread, and the places where parents may obtain additional information and vaccinations for their children.
  2. Parents of students entering grades five through twelve will be provided with information regarding cervical cancer, cervical dysplasia, human papillomavirus (and the vaccines available to prevent these diseases). It will include the causes and symptoms of these diseases, how they are transmitted, how they may be prevented by vaccination, including the benefits and possible side effects of vaccination, and the places where parents may obtain additional information and vaccinations for their children.
  3. Students in grades five through twelve will be provided information regarding the lawful abandonment of a child. This information shall include the manner in which a parent may lawfully abandon a newborn baby with a responsible person, in accordance with G.S. 7B 500.

Compliance with Other Health Requirements.

The school shall regularly determine and comply with any federal, state, and local requirements pertaining to other safety threats such as dangerous chemicals and blood-borne pathogens.  It shall also comply with all requirements as to food inspections and safety.

1.6 - Campus Visitors

NCCA is a virtual school, but the majority of the teachers and staff do work in a teaching center located in Durham, North Carolina.  The NCCA staff loves to meet their families in person at field trips and state testing, as well as, during scheduled times in the teaching center.  If your family would like to schedule an in-person meeting with teachers or administrators, please call or email the desired staff member to make an appointment.


1.7 - The 2019 to 2020 School Calendar

1.8 - Emergency Closure Information

Since NCCA is a virtual school, an entire school or system-wide closure is not typical. We make arrangements for regional closures due to weather-related events. Typically, teachers are still working even if the main office may be closed. If students are not impacted by the weather event, it is expected that they will work.

In the case of an emergency closure (generally weather-related), an internal message will be sent to students regarding teacher schedules and main office closures. Be sure to check your internal messages for this information before calling the school office.  

Section 2: Enrollment, Withdrawal, and Transfers

2.1 - Enrollment Eligibility

For enrollment eligibility, including lottery facts, please see the section of the school website.

2.2 - Max Age to Enroll

The maximum enrollment age of a student is determined by state law.  The maximum enrollment age may also vary by student, dependent upon the program in which a student is enrolled. In North Carolina, the maximum age limits are:

Maximum age limits also apply to students who choose to re-enroll. Students requesting to be enrolled in the highest grade offered by the school must be on track for graduation with their cohort year. Students that have previously attempted coursework at the highest grade offered by the school will typically not be eligible for enrollment in the same grade.  For more information regarding the maximum enrollment age, please contact the school counselor or administrator.

2.3 - School Requests for Student Records from Another School

NCCA will fully comply with the requirements of FERPA and IDEA. FERPA allows for certain exceptions that would allow NCCA to receive student education records from a previous school without the prior written consent of parents. However, upon enrollment in NCCA, parents will be asked to sign a Release of Records form as written consent for the release of their student's education records from the student's previous district. NCCA will request parents' written consent for the release of their student's education records to a third party. The school will also comply with the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). NCCA will address record compliance with a records management program that addresses creation, maintenance, storage, and final destination of records in accordance with North Carolina laws and regulations.

2.4 - Enrollment of Students Expelled from Another School

Consistent with North Carolina law (115C-218.45(i)), NCCA may refuse admission to any student who has been expelled or suspended from a public school until the period of suspension or expulsion has expired. In some instances, however, NCCA may be an appropriate option for such an applicant as determined by the school principal. Therefore, NCCA will accept, for review on a case-by-case basis, applications involving prospective students who have been suspended or expelled from a prior school. The school principal, in consultation with any school staff and/or leaders as appropriate, will review and make a determination regarding such applications. If the principal approves the application, the applicant will be permitted to enroll in NCCA under its normal enrollment procedures. Students who are permitted to enroll in NCCA while under suspension or expulsion from another school may, however, be prohibited from attending field trips or school events until the end of the term of their suspension period, depending on relevant circumstances. All determinations about enrollment and field trip participation shall ultimately be made according to the principal’s discretion.

2.5 - Removal from School

After admission and during the school year, serious and/or repeated deviations from the policies of the school will result in an evaluation of the student’s placement in the school, as allowed by law and consistent with the school’s charter.

2.6 - Enrollment After the Start of a School Year or Semester

NCCA will accept applications for the current school year through the third Tuesday of January annually. Based on the available capacity, NCCA will enroll students who applied by the January deadline until the second annual count day. If a student does not complete enrollment prior to the second count day, his/her enrollment will be deferred to the following school year as defined in the lottery process.

Prior to any required state assessments, enrollment for affected grade levels will be frozen until completion of the state assessment window.

2.7 - Dual Enrollment in Another School

Because the school is a full-time program, students may not be concurrently enrolled in another public school on a full or part-time basis with the exception of high school students participating in the Career and College Promise Program.  

Violations of this policy may be grounds for dismissal from the program.

2.8 - Withdrawing from School

A student may be withdrawn from NCCA if he/she fails to regularly participate in his/her courses and/or is non-compliant with the attendance regulations set forth in Section 4 Attendance of this Handbook.

If it is determined by the school that a student should be withdrawn because the student regularly fails to participate in his/her courses, a Notice of Intent to Withdraw shall be provided to the student and the parent/guardian. This notice will provide the student and parent/guardian an opportunity, prior to withdrawal, to appeal the withdrawal based on the circumstances of the following lawful absences under North Carolina law:

  1. Illness or injury.
  2. Quarantine as ordered by a local health officer or by the State Board of Health.
  3. Death in the Immediate Family.  Immediate family includes parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters.
  4. Medical and/or dental appointments.
  5. Court or Administrative Proceedings.  When a student is a party to the action or is under subpoena to serve as a witness in a case.
  6. Religious Observance.  Two excused absences each academic year for religious observances required by faith of a student or a student’s parents.  Students shall be given the opportunity to make up any tests or other school work missed due to this excused absence.
  7. Educational Opportunity.  A valid education opportunity, such as travel, Legislative Page or Governor’s Page.  
  8. Absence Related to Parent Deployment.  Parent/guardian is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting for the purpose of visiting said parent/guardian.
  9. Child Care.  Absences due to the illness or medical appointment during school hours of a child of whom the student is the custodial parent.

If a parent/guardian is unable to demonstrate that failure to participate in courses is due to a lawful absence, the principal may withdraw the student from NCCA.  Parents/guardians disputing the decision to withdraw a student for lack of regular participation may avail themselves of the grievance process as outlined in Section 9.5 of this Handbook.

2.9 - Mandatory Testing

NCCA will participate and follow the North Carolina Testing Program and provide remediation and intervention for students not scoring at required levels.  A testing coordinator will monitor compliance with this policy.  All licensed testing personnel, teachers, and school administrators are subject to the state Testing Code of Ethics regarding the statewide testing program. A copy of these ethical standards is available on the State Testing Code of Ethics website.

All students enrolled in NCCA must participate in the following tests:

2.10 - Reading Proficiency and Notice Requirements

State charter law requires that the school take certain measures to ensure that students are not prematurely promoted and notify parents and members of the school community when certain standards are not satisfied.  

  1. Students in the third grade will be retained if a student fails to demonstrate reading proficiency by reading at or above the third grade level as demonstrated by the results of the State-approved standardized reading comprehension tests. NCCA will provide reading interventions to retained students to remediate reading deficiency.
  2. Students may be exempt from mandatory retention in third grade for good cause but will continue to receive instructional supports and services and reading interventions appropriate for their age and reading level. Good cause exemptions shall be limited to the following:
  1. Limited English Proficient students with less than two school years of instruction in English as a Second Language program.
  2. Students with disabilities, as defined by state law and whose Individualized Education Program indicates (i) the use of the NCEXTEND1 alternate assessment, (ii) at least a two school year delay in educational performance, or (iii) receipt of intensive reading interventions for at least two school years.
  3. Students who demonstrate reading proficiency appropriate for third grade students on an alternative assessment of reading comprehension. The school will notify the State Board of Education of the alternative assessment used to demonstrate reading proficiency.
  4. Students who demonstrate, through a student reading portfolio, reading proficiency appropriate for third grade students.
  5. Students who have (i) received reading intervention and (ii) previously been retained more than once in kindergarten, first, second, or third grades.
  1. NCCA will provide notice to parents/guardians when a student is not reading at grade level. The notice will state that if the student's reading deficiency is not remediated by the end of third grade, the student will be retained unless he or she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause. Notice will also be provided to parents/guardians of any student who is to be retained of the reason the student is not eligible for a good cause exemption, as well as a description of proposed reading interventions that will be provided to the student to remediate identified areas of reading deficiency.

Section 3: Attendance

3.1 - Marking and Verifying Attendance

Parents/guardians document student attendance and the school verifies that the attendance records are accurate.

3.2 - Attendance Codes

The following attendance codes are available:

Code

Definition of Code

Who enters the code?

0 – 9

Hours of Schooling

Parent/Guardian

(and the School, as necessary)

E

Excused Absence

The School

U

Unexcused Absence

The School

Please note:  If the parent/guardian fails to provide a correspondence explaining the absence or send a doctor’s note to verify the excused absence, the absence will be recorded as unexcused.

3.3 - Academic Work Hour Requirements

In order to meet the state’s requirements of 1,025 hours of instruction per school year, families should aim to complete the following minimum hours of schooling each week, based on a 5-day school week. Lessons are populated on a student’s home page daily and students are expected to complete those lessons within the timeframe allotted by the course teacher.

Grade

Recommended Minimum Hours per Week

K-12

30

Note that these are the minimum hours required by the state and that students are responsible for mastering all material, which may require additional time.

3.4 - “Missing a Day of School” at NCCA

Missing a day of school is defined as missing a day’s worth of hours in a week. For an NCCA student, this would be the equivalent of completing fewer than the recommended 30  hours of school in a week. As noted in section 3.2 “Attendance Codes” , absences will be defined as excused or unexcused.

3.5 - Learning Coach Responsibilities

Recording Hours of Schooling.

The Learning Management System automatically tracks active time and lesson activity and completion daily.  To account for all instructional time, onscreen and offscreen, Learning Coaches are responsible for recording attendance to include both active screen time and instructional time/activities offscreen.  For each instructional day, Learning Coaches should note the number of hours of schooling that occurred.  Learning Coaches should access the linked electronic form to record student attendance every Friday or Sunday evening to document the previous week's attendance.  Please note that an entry must be submitted for each student.  Students should aim to meet the weekly totals listed previously to ensure compliance with state regulations.  Learning Coaches may also ask for assistance from the school to enter attendance as needed.

Alert School of Excused Student Absences.

If a student is absent, the Learning Coach must send information to the school about the absence, and the school determines if the absence can be classified as excused, per the guidelines listed in the School Handbook.  

Complete defined school year.

Regardless of the number of hours of schooling a student may complete prior to the last day of the school year (1,025 hours of instruction per North Carolina regulations), students are required to meet the weekly required instructional hours up to and including the last day of the school year.

Vacations or Days Off.

NCCA students are allocated vacation days based on the number of weekdays in the school calendar that are marked as non-school days/holidays/vacation. For example, a student may choose to work on President’s Day, but then take the following Monday off. The Learning Coach would record hours of attendance on President’s Day, as though it were a regular school day. Whenever a student wishes to take a regular school day as a vacation day (that is, will not be completing any educational activities), the Learning Coach should notify the student’s teacher and, if possible, seek prior approval.

Note that regularly-scheduled school holidays, vacations, etc. must still be accounted for if the student did not complete any educational activities on that day.

Students who start after the beginning of the school year will not be permitted to take vacation time for any school holiday or vacation days that occurred prior to their start date. For example, if a student starts school on September 5 but school officially started August 18, the student is not entitled to use Labor Day as a vacation day but is still entitled to all vacation days that are scheduled after his/her official start date.

If a student has used his or her allotment of vacation days, any day on which no educational activities are completed (i.e., no hours are recorded) will be treated as zero hours.  If that student is able to meet the weekly state hours requirement on the days in which he/she does work, then the zero hour day will not adversely affect the student’s attendance percentage.  If the hours are not made up during that same week, however, the student will be considered absent and their attendance/participation status could be adversely impacted.

3.6 - School Responsibilities

3.7 - Attendance and Escalation Systems

Enrolled students are in one of three attendance statuses at all times:

  1. On-Track
  2. Approaching Alarm- 3 unexcused absences
  3. Alarm-6 unexcused absences

This status is based on several criteria and is a combination of measures that indicate if a student is demonstrating adequate participation (and therefore attendance) in the program.  This not only includes the actual attendance hours recorded by the Learning Coach, but also lesson and assignment completion rates, and amount of appropriate communication with the teacher.  Therefore, even though a Learning Coach may record a high number of instructional hours in the attendance records, if a student’s work completion rates are not on track or if he or she fails to communicate adequately on a regular basis with the teacher, the school will place him/her in Alarm status.  It is important to recognize that just marking proper attendance will not keep a student’s attendance status On-Track.

When a student is in the Approaching Alarm status, he or she is in danger of being withdrawn for non-participation in their courses (see Section 3.5.6, Withdrawing from School). The school will work with the family to help get the student’s attendance back on track.  If these efforts fail, the school will escalate the matter to Alarm status, which could quickly lead to the student’s official withdrawal.

3.8 - Truancy

In order to maximize student learning, regular attendance is imperative. The NCCA program offers a great deal of flexibility about how many hours students spend each day on school work and on what days of the week they complete that work. Due to this flexibility, NCCA has zero tolerance for truancy.  Parents/guardians are held legally responsible for ensuring that their students are fully participating in school, even if they have designated another individual as their student’s Learning Coach. The information below is intended to help parents/guardians understand how to avoid having their students be considered truant and to understand the consequences of truancy.

In order to avoid truancy, the parent/guardian must ensure that the following activities are taking place:

If the student’s teachers become aware that the student is not fully participating in school as outlined above, the student will be marked absent at the teacher’s discretion.  The principal or designee may override the number of attendance hours previously entered by a Learning Coach, changing the attendance hours to a 0 if the student’s teacher(s) believes the student has not participated as required.  If attendance hours are changed by the teacher the Learning Coach will be notified.  These absences will be considered unexcused. Absences are considered excused or unexcused as defined in the School Handbook. The principal shall make the final decision about whether an absence is considered excused or unexcused in instances of dispute.  

Unexcused absences may subject a student to disciplinary action, truancy, and may also lead to formal withdrawal from the school. Parents/guardians may also be subject to investigation by local social services agencies based on North Carolina law.

3.9 - Compulsory Attendance

In accordance with the NC Compulsory Attendance law, NCCA will follow the guidelines determined by the state for intervening to prevent excessive absences and reporting parents and students to the appropriate authorities when those interventions have failed.  For the purposes of NCCA’s truancy and attendance policies, missing a day of school is defined as missing a day’s worth of hours or work in a week. 

NCCA measures and monitors expected lesson completion through the calculation of a participation metric that will be used to provide a true reflection of students’ attendance. 

After 3 days of absences, defined in the virtual setting as an 18 hour deficit, parents will receive a phone call and letter from the truancy coordinator reminding them of the importance of school attendance and our policies. 

After 6 days of absences, defined as a 36 hour deficit, the truancy coordinator will send a letter to the family and hold an attendance meeting. 

After 10 days of absences, defined as a 60 hour deficit, the truancy coordinator will send a certified letter to families notifying them of a scheduled truancy meeting.  At this meeting, if the principal or the principal’s designee determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has not made a good faith effort to comply with the law, the principal shall notify the district attorney and the director of social services of the county where the child resides. If the principal or the principal's designee determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has made a good faith effort to comply with the law, the principal may file a complaint with the juvenile court counselor.

3.10 - Non Response to Contacts

Communication is a key to academic success at NCCA, therefore it is expected that students, Learning Coaches, and guardians will return staff calls and emails within one (1) school day. If a staff member has made three attempts at phone contact over successive days with no response, this may trigger the student going into Approaching Alarm or Alarm status, and may eventually lead to withdrawing the student for non-participation.

Section 4: Grading and Student Evaluation

4.1 - 10/20 Day Rule for Dropped Courses w/ an EOC Exam

The grading scale for grades K-12 is below. This grading scale applies to all courses to be used for graduation credit, including high school courses taken prior to students being enrolled in high school (e.g. Algebra I/Math I taken in 8th grade). Please see the high school section, below, for the full weighted grading scale for Honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and Career and College Promises (CCP) courses.

Students may drop a course with a required end-of-course (EOC) assessment within the first 10 days of a block schedule.  Students who are enrolled in the course after 10 days may not drop a course with a required EOC assessment, and must also participate in the appropriate EOC assessment at the completion of the course.

Exceptions to this rule are allowed in individual cases where it is in the best interest of the student to be removed from a course requiring an EOC assessment.  These cases will be evaluated individually, and consideration will be given to make certain the accountability of the school is not being compromised.  Examples of acceptable individual student withdrawal after the 10 days of enrollment include the following:

  1. A transfer student is inappropriately placed in an EOC course.
  2. A student is withdrawn from a course to enroll in a higher level course.  (This cannot happen in the last 6 weeks of the course.)
  3. There is a valid medical reason for removing a student from an EOC course.

In all situations, the principal of the school will review the case individually and decide in consultation with the teacher and parent/guardian whether withdrawal is necessary.  If it is determined that the student should be withdrawn from the course, the parent/guardian and the student will be notified in writing of any change to EOC testing requirements.

4.2 - Final Course Grades for Students Taking High School Level Courses

Per North Carolina state statute, for high school courses (such as Math I) the grade for each semester of the course is averaged along with the final exam scores to give one final grade for the course.  Final exams are weighted twenty percent (20%) of the student’s overall grade in the course; therefore, final grades will not be reflected in PowerSchool until after both semesters are finished and final exams are administered and scored.  Thus, the overall final grade for the course is determined this way:

4.3 - Credit by Demonstrated Mastery

NCCA, in compliance with the North Carolina Board of Education policy, allows students the opportunity to earn credit in a particular course without requiring the student to complete course instruction. This opportunity is open to all NCCA students in grades 9-12 in high school courses and in grades 6-8 for high school courses offered in middle school.

In order to be eligible:

  1. Students must complete an Application for CDM and then:
  2. Complete and pass the applicable face to face standard examination of assessment for the course, such as an End of Course exam (EOC), a North Carolina Final Exam, a Career and Technical Education (CTE) assessment earning a level III or higher, or in some cases, an exam developed by the school; and
  3. Submit a final project as provided by the school content committee developed for CDM eligibility and earn a satisfactory rating based on the provided rubric. 

If a student does not pass the examination or assessment, s/he will not be permitted to continue in the process for the course; re-testing is not permitted. The student will be awarded credit if s/he successfully passes both phases within the review period. If the student does not pass both, s/he must then take the course.

Applying for CDM is time-sensitive because students must take the applicable examination of assessment during the testing window determined by the state of North Carolina. Students need to apply for CDM for a course one (1) semester before they plan to take the course:

CDM applications are due no less than one week prior to each testing window for the Fall, Spring, or Summer, depending on the planned CDM. Contact your school counselor for further information. Students may earn credit using CDM for as many courses as they wish. However, students may only make one attempt for each course. The school reserves the right to limit which courses they will consider eligible for CDM. Other important considerations include:

Students and parents/guardians are urged to discuss CDM further with the school guidance counselor prior to submitting an application. Additional information is available on the state website.

4.4 - Repeating a Course for Credit

Students at North Carolina Cyber Academy are eligible to repeat a course for credit if students have earned a D or below.  Students who earn a D who wish to be eligible to repeat a course for credit must make a written request to the school administrator within ten days of receiving the final grade. This request must include the student's name and course to be repeated.

4.5 - National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society

NCCA has a high school and junior chapter of the National Honor Society and will host inductions in the spring semester.


Section 5: High School Program and Policies

5.1 - Promotion

The school will promote students from one grade to the next based on the following credit levels:

Classification

Grade

Minimum # of Credits

Completion Requirement

Sophomore

10

6

English I, Math I

Junior

11

12

English II, Math II, Biology

Senior

12

18

English III, Math III

At the time of a student’s enrollment, school counselors will establish estimated grade levels based on preliminary information about previously earned credits. Student grade levels will be updated twice each year – once in the fall and once at the end of the school year.  The automatic adjustments are based on the student’s earned and verified credits recorded in PowerSchool.

In certain situations, the counselor, in consultation with the student, Learning Coach, and/or school administrator, may adjust the student’s grade to most appropriately match the student’s current academic needs.

* These promotional courses and credit requirements will go into effect for incoming ninth graders entering high school in the 2019-2020 school-year. *

5.2 - Graduation and Diploma Requirements

To be eligible to graduate and receive a diploma from NCCA, a student must meet all of the following requirements:

A student may attend school until the student reaches 21 years of age (Exceptions include: 1) if the student is in a graduating class and becomes 21 years of age before graduation, the student is permitted to complete the term if otherwise qualified to do so. 2) Students with IEPs may complete credits until the end of the semester of their 22nd birthday).

5.2.1 - Future Ready Core Course of Study Requirements

Area

Subject

# Credits

Language Arts

English I, English II, English III, English IV

4.0

Mathematics

NC Math 1, NC Math 2, NC Math 3

3.0

Any Approved Fourth Mathematics Course Aligned with Post-School Plans

1.0

Science

Biology

1.0

Physical Science, Chemistry, or Physics

1.0

Earth/ Environmental Science

1.0

Social Studies

American History I

1.0

American History II

1.0

American History: The Founding Principles, Civics, and Economics

1.0

World History

1.0

Health and PE

Physical Education/Health

1.0

Various

Approved Electives

8.0

 

Total Required Credits

24.0

5.2.2 - Future Ready Occupational Course of Study Requirements

Area

Subject

# Credits

Language Arts

English I, English II, English III, English IV

4.0

Mathematics

Introduction to Mathematics

1.0

Math I

1.0

Financial Management

1.0

Science

Applied Science

1.0

Biology

1.0

Social Studies

Social Studies I (Government/U.S. History )

1.0

Social Studies II (Self-Advocacy/Problem Solving)

1.0

Health and PE

Physical Education/Health

1.0

Electives*

Occupational Preparation

6.0

Career/Technical

Career/Technical

4.0

Arts Education

Any Approved

1.0

 

Total Required Credits

23.0

NCCA uses a standard whereby one credit equals approximately 160 hours of instruction (sometimes referred to as Carnegie Units). Students are required to be enrolled in a minimum of two courses per semester in order to be considered full-time students.

5.3 - Community Service Requirement

North Carolina Cyber Academy’s requirements for high school graduation are 26 credits plus 100 hours (minimum) of community service or 25 hours for each year enrolled at NCCA.

Objectives:

Plan:

* If a student enters NCCA as a high school student, the hours will be prorated to 25 hours for each academic year. An entering sophomore would need 75 hours of community service. An entering junior would need 50 hours. An entering senior would need 25 hours.

5.4 - National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility

In order to be eligible for National College Athletic Association (NCAA) scholarships, students must meet certain academic and other requirements, including but not limited to taking NCAA-approved high school courses. Many core and elective courses are NCAA-approved; however, students interested in NCAA scholarships should contact their school counselor to determine an appropriate course schedule that will help them meet NCAA requirements. Students should also visit the NCAA Eligibility Center for more information.

NCCA plans to offer a full high school program aligned to the Future-Ready Core and Future-Ready Occupational programs of study as adopted by the North Carolina State Board of Education. (Note: According to North Carolina policy, only students with an IEP can follow the Future Ready Occupational route to graduation. Please contact the Manager of Special Education for more information.) The requirements for the two options are outlined below.

5.5 - Grades and Grade Point Averages (GPA)

High school students will be awarded credit only for courses in which they have earned a grade of 60% or better. This applies both to courses taken at NCAA and at other schools. Previous courses taken at other schools in which the student earned a grade below a 60% will not be awarded transfer credit, but will appear on student records and will be included in a student’s grade point average (GPA). Courses required for graduation will need to be re-taken by the student if a grade of 60% or higher was not earned, and re-taking such courses may delay the student's graduation.

Grade

Grade %

Passing?

Non-Weighted

Weighted (Honors)

Weighted (AP)(CCP)

A

90-100

Yes

4.0

4.5

5.0

B

80-89

Yes

3.0

3.5

4.0

C

70-79

Yes

2.0

2.5

3.0

D

60-69

Yes

1.0

1.5

2.0

F

<59

No

0.00

0.0

0.0

5.6 - Class Rank

NCCA will calculate the class rank for each high school student at the end of each semester. Students who have not yet successfully completed any high school courses for credit directly from NCCA will be excluded from the class rank calculation.  

For the purposes of calculating the class rank, the student’s cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) will be used, which may include weighted grades for Honors or Advanced Placement courses. Courses from other accredited institutions will also be included in the class rank as long as there is a grade assigned for that course.

The cumulative GPA is calculated to the thousandth of a point. Students whose class rank rounds off to the same thousandth of a point will be considered tied and will receive the same class rank. The ranking will compare students within the same grade level at the same school. The class rank is included on the student’s official high school transcript.  

5.7 - Release of High School Education Record (NC Official Transcripts)

NCCA will provide educational records, including official high school transcripts, class rank, test scores, and letters of recommendation to third parties such as post-secondary institutions, scholarship committees, and/or potential employers, only with prior written approval from the student’s parents/guardians or from the student if he or she is aged 18 or older or an emancipated minor.  

In order to ensure that application deadlines are successfully met, we require advance notice of at least 10 working days for requests to provide educational records to students, parents/guardians, and/or third parties. We require 30 days’ notice for letters of recommendation.  

Requests for records should be made through the school’s records manager.

5.8 - Course PreRequisites

 

Students must meet all course prerequisite requirements prior to registration.  Prerequisites are listed by each course’s overview in the course catalog.  Semesters A and B of a course cannot be taken concurrently (during the same semester).

5.9 - Repeating a Course for Credit

Students at North Carolina Cyber Academy are eligible to repeat a course for credit if students have earned a D or below.  Students who earn a D who wish to be eligible to repeat a course for credit must make a written request to the school administrator within ten days of receiving the final grade. This request must include the student's name and course to be repeated.  

5.10 - Schedule Changes

Students may request changes to their schedules within the first six weeks of enrollment or in the first six weeks of the semester. To add or drop a course, a parent/guardian must make a request of the school counselor.

5.11 - Transcripts

Students will be able to access ongoing information about their courses through their online grade books. To request an official copy of a transcript, families must provide a written request to the school’s manager of records for approval and processing. Official transcripts are generated at the school. They have official school signatures, raised seals, and are sent in a sealed envelope.

5.12 - Transfer Credits from Other Schools

As part of the enrollment process, families submit their students’ most recent report cards and/or transcripts. Counselors analyze previously earned credits and determine which credits will transfer to NCCA. The school counselor may require complete unofficial transcripts or complete end-of-year report cards before approving a student’s grade level and course selection. Official transcripts are required within the first 30 days of school for final credit transfer approval and for final course approval. Upon graduation or withdrawal, the official NCCA transcript may display both the credits earned at NCCA as well as any transfer credits.

5.13 - Enrollment After the School Year or Semester Begins

Students entering mid-semester submit report cards, progress reports and/or teacher notes from their previous school as part of the enrollment process.  Once a student is enrolled, NCCA teachers may review the student’s work and progress up to that point in the semester, and work with the student to drop lessons/concepts that may have already been covered.  Students who need a course that is NCAA approved will have to complete all the lessons.

5.13 - Credit for Course Work Completed in a Non-Standard School Program

Students may request to receive credit for courses completed in previous educational settings other than fully accredited schools, including home school, non-accredited public, private, alternative or international schools.

There are two options for requesting and being granted credit by NCCA for coursework completed in a non-standard school program:

Students who wish to receive credit for courses must provide the nationally standardized test results from the most recently concluded school year. Test result scores that are proficient or above will be reviewed by the principal or principal designee to grant credit for the courses.

Students that receive credit will be given a grade of “Pass,” which is not included in the calculation of the student’s GPA. These credits are not entered into the student’s records until the student has completed a full semester at NCCA.

If nationally standardized test results are not available for review, we will not have sufficient evidence to determine proficiency in previous courses. In this case, the student will be required to take the previous courses at NCCA.

5.14 - High School Courses Taken in Middle School

Students may earn high school credit for high school level courses taken during the middle school years. A middle school course for which high school credit is granted must cover the same content as the equivalent high school course and must be approved by the school counselor in advance.  EOC exams if applicable will need to be passed to get credit.  Please note that according to state statute, grades received by middle school students taking high school courses for credit are not factored into the high school GPA. Check with the school counselor for more specific information.

5.15 - College Courses

Families must consult with the school counselor for permission to earn high school credit for college courses taken while the student is still enrolled at NCCA.  Students wishing to earn high school credit for college courses must have written approval of the school counselor in advance. The school counselor will work with the parent/guardian and student to determine the amount of high school credit that a college course could earn.  In order to receive high school credit for a college course, the student must pass the course.  College credits and letter grades from dual enrollment courses will appear on the official high school transcript

5.16 - Independent Study

Independent Study is a school-approved, student-centered, alternative method of learning that allows a student to earn regular education course credit while working on a standards-based, curriculum-aligned, independent project. Students work independently under the supervision of a certified teacher following a plan created jointly by the student, the parent/guardian, and the teacher.  Students who wish to earn credit for an Independent Study project must complete an application and have the approval of both the teacher and school counselor in advance.

5.17 - Driver’s Eligibility Certificates

Under North Carolina law, a student who wishes to obtain a permit or license to drive and who does not have a high school diploma must obtain a driving eligibility certificate. The certificate must demonstrate either a hardship for the person due to not having the license, or they are currently pursuing a high school diploma or equivalent.

If the student gains a driver’s license and drops out, commits certain offenses resulting in a suspension, or fails to continue progressing towards a high school diploma or equivalent, the student’s permit or license may be revoked. Reinstatement of the driver’s permit or license will only occur if:

  1. The student turns eighteen (18)
  2. The student submits a driving eligibility certificate
  3. The student submits a high school diploma or equivalent.

5.18 - Student Driving to Sanctioned Events

First and foremost, we highly recommend to parents/guardians that students not be permitted to drive unaccompanied to NCCA-sanctioned events. (“Event(s)”). Preferred options include having Parents /guardians or designated adults drive and supervise students , or having students use public transportation options.

However, we recognize that in certain circumstances students may need or wish to drive to a NCCA-sanctioned event without supervision from an adult. In order to be able to drive unaccompanied to a NCCA-sanctioned event students must meet the following guidelines:

In addition, it is the responsibility of the student who attends an eEvent without a Caretaker parent/guardian or designated adult to do the following:

Under no circumstances shall NCCA be responsible for students who make their own personal travel arrangements and/or are not accompanied by an adult. The conduct of unaccompanied student drivers at eEvents will remain the responsibility of their parents/guardians. If a student driving to or from an eEvent is involved in an accident, NCCA (or its provider Connections Academy) will not be liable for any injuries or damage; all liability rests with the student, his/her Caretaker parent/guardian and/or any insurance maintained by the Caretaker parent/guardian and/or the student.  

. If a student nevertheless permits another student or students to ride with him/her, NCCA shall not be liable for any injuries or damage to any parties. The student, the student’s Caretakerparent/guardian, and/or any insurance maintained by the Caretaker parent/guardian and/or the student, will be responsible for any and all injuries and/or any damage that may occur.

Even if a Caretaker parent/guardian does grant permission for a student to drive unaccompanied, it is important to note that driving a car to an eEvent is a privilege for a student and not a right, and such privilege may still be denied or revoked by NCCA at any time. Safe driving practices must be adhered to at all times. Students who endanger other drivers, individuals, pedestrians, or property, and/or do not follow school rules and/or procedures for eEvents, may have their permission to drive unaccompanied to sSchool eEvents revoked by NCCA. Furthermore, students may be reported to school authorities and, if warranted, may also be reported to the police for further action.


Section 6: Services for Special Populations

6.1 - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - Eligible Students

Enrollment Requirements

At the time of enrollment, all parents/guardians that indicate their students have special needs are asked to submit a copy of the student’s most recent Individualized Education Program (IEP) as well as any associated evaluations.  All documents are reviewed by the Director of Special Services, and if necessary a member of the special education staff contacts the family to discuss specific student needs or to clarify the information.

When a child with a disability transfers to NCCA with a current IEP from a previous LEA in North Carolina, NCCA, in consultation with the parents/guardians, will provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to the child, including services comparable to those described in the child's IEP from the previous LEA. The Director of Special Services will schedule an IEP meeting to review the IEP, recommend amendments, if appropriate, or conduct an annual review.  If a student transfers to NCCA from an LEA outside of North Carolina or with outdated eligibility for services, an IEP meeting will be scheduled to determine appropriate comparable services, while seeking and reviewing the most current evaluations to determine appropriate information regarding eligibility.

During the School Year

At the beginning of the school year, the special education team ensures that teachers have access to the student IEPs. All of a student’s teachers are made aware of each student’s special learning needs and are given guidance on how to make the necessary program and curricular accommodations.

Conducting IEP Meetings

As its own LEA, NCCA will be responsible for all special education services including planning, scheduling, and conducting all annual reviews, educational evaluations, and other IEP-related meetings. The staff at NCCA contacts families and establishes mutually beneficial meeting times. The IEP meetings are most frequently held virtually via live lesson sessions and conference lines. IEP meetings occur in compliance with all North Carolina and federal laws.

Related Services

Students will receive all appropriate related services in accordance with their IEPs. NCCA will arrange for providing those services through appropriately qualified providers.

New Referrals

Anyone with an educational interest in a student may make a referral/recommendation for more intensive services. This includes parents/guardians, staff members, and evaluators. Once NC Cyber Academy is aware of the concerns, if currently not receiving services, the student will be referred to the student support team (SST). The members of the team to include the referring person, educators of the student, and parents will review concerns and proceed accordingly through the Response to Intervention (RtI) process. For specific requests regarding Section 504 Plans and Individual Education Plans, the guidelines set forth in state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act I(IDEA) laws and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act will be adhered.

Parent Rights Guide

For more information see the State Department of Public Instruction’s publication, “Procedural Safeguards: Handbook on Parents Rights” (2009 updated edition) available at http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/ecparenthandbook.pdf or contact the Manager of Special Education

6.2 - Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - Eligible Students

Enrollment Requirements

Parents of students with Section 504 plans seeking to enroll in the school are asked to submit a copy of the Section 504 plan during the enrollment and academic placement process.  When a student enters the school with a Section 504 plan developed by a prior school, the school will review the plan and supporting documentation and comply with Section 504.

During the School Year

At the beginning of the school year, the 504 Coordinator ensures that teachers have access to a student’s 504 Plan.  The teachers are made aware of each student’s special learning needs and are given guidance on how to make the necessary program accommodations.

Students who have Section 504 plans will participate in the regular education environment, with the use of supplementary aids and services.  The regular education teachers (with the support of the 504 Coordinator and/or special education staff) will implement the provisions of Section 504 plans.  A case manager will be assigned to notify teachers about the accommodations and to assist with and monitor implementation of the Section 504 plan.  Teachers will also have access to information as to accommodations and modifications on their home page.

Re-evaluation

The school shall establish procedures for periodic reevaluation of students, consistent with the requirements of Section 504.  Transitions from primary grades to intermediate grades, elementary school to middle school, and middle school to high school are often appropriate times to review and update a student’s Section 504 plan.  For students who enter the school with an existing Section 504 plan, the schedule for the reevaluation will be determined by the 504 Coordinator based on the following:  how recently the plan was developed, the appropriateness of the plan for the virtual school setting, changes to the student’s impairment, etc.

Section 504 Accommodations

According to their Section 504 plans, students will receive accommodations and modifications to their educational program.  Due to the virtual nature of the school, the services are typically provided virtually over the internet with real-time conferencing software.  The 504 Coordinator ensures the service is provided in compliance with the student’s Section 504 plan.

New Referrals

Anyone with an educational interest in a student may make a referral/recommendation for more intensive services. This includes parents/guardians, staff members, and evaluators. Once NC Cyber Academy is aware of the concerns, students who are not currently not receiving services will be referred to the student support team (SST). The members of the team shall include the referring person, educators of the student, and parents.  This team will review concerns and proceed accordingly through the Multi Tiered System of Support (MTSS) process. For specific requests regarding Section 504 Plans and Individual Education Plans, the guidelines set forth in state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) laws and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act will be adhered.

Federal law requires NCCA to provide its students, regardless of disability, with an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the school’s education program. NCCA is committed to providing its students with equal access to its education program. We provide students with accessibility through resources tailored to each student’s individual abilities and needs, including assistive technologies and individualized support.

6.3 - Gifted Students

Referrals

Nominations to the Academically or Intellectually Gifted Program are accepted from parents/guardians, community members, teachers, and students themselves. Nominations are accepted in the spring of each year. Additionally, all second grade students will be screened for the program. An automatic recommendation for the program will occur if a student scores in the 93rd percentile or above on a nationally-or state-normed standardized test. Once a child qualifies for services, they do not have to re-qualify in subsequent years.

After parent permission has been obtained, all nominated students will be assessed using multiple measures, both qualitative and quantitative, to determine their aptitude, performance, and productive thinking abilities.

Placement in the AIG program is voluntary and will require written permission from the parents/guardians. Students not placed in the program may be re-nominated the following year and will follow the same screening procedures.

Once enrolled in courses, a student may only be removed through a request by the parent/guardian to the homeroom teacher. Each request is reviewed by a Committee. Confirmation of the decision will be confirmed by the Manager of Special Education to the parent/guardian.


Section 7: Student Code of Conduct, Grievance, Due Process and Communication

7.1 - Freedom of Expression

As a public school, NCCA will remain neutral on matters of religion, politics, and other personal values and beliefs protected by the United States Constitution, while also protecting the rights of individual students and staff members to exercise their religious and free speech rights. Consistent with the school’s academic mission, the school shall promote respect for and civility regarding an individual’s personal beliefs, and will also strive to neutrally instruct students about the important role of religion and free expression as part of our heritage.

7.2 - Flag Display and Pledge of Allegiance

Pursuant to state law, students will have the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day.  Students will not be required or compelled to stand, salute the flag, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance in compliance with North Carolina law.

Age appropriate instruction on the meaning and historical origins of the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance will be provided to students within the curriculum of North Carolina Cyber Academy.

7.3 - Bullying and Other Prohibited Behavior

NCCA is committed to providing a safe, positive, productive, and nurturing educational environment for all of its students and encourages the promotion of positive interpersonal relations among members of the school community.

Harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyber-bullying, and/or hazing toward any member of the school community, whether by or toward any student, staff, parent/guardian, or other third parties, is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Examples of such prohibited behavior include, but are not limited to, stalking, bullying/cyberbullying, intimidating, menacing, coercion, name-calling, taunting, making threats, and hazing. This also includes aggressive behavior; physical, verbal, and psychological abuse; and violence within a dating relationship. These types of behavior are forms of intimidation and harassment and are strictly prohibited.

NCCA Administration and the Governing Board will not tolerate any gestures, comments, threats, or actions which (i) cause, threaten to cause, or, an objective and reasoned third-party would find was intended to cause, bodily harm or personal degradation, or (ii) creates, or an objective and reasoned third-party would determine was intended to create an intimidating, threatening, or abusive environment for any student, staff member, member of the administration, parent/ guardian, or other third-party.

This policy applies to all school-related activities and/or engagements, including, but not limited to, online school-related activities such as live lesson sessions, participation in clubs and activities, internal mail messages, text messages, discussions, telephone communications, and message boards; and in-person activities, such as state testing, field trips, open houses, and any other in-person school-related activities on school property. This policy also applies to those activities or engagements which occur off school property if the student or employee is at any school-sponsored, school-approved, or school-related activity or function, such as field trips or events where students are under the school’s control, in a school vehicle, where an employee is engaged in school business, or where the prohibited behavior is facilitated through the use of any school property or resources.

Any student or student’s parent/guardian who believes that student, any other student, or other third-party, has been or is the recipient of any of the prohibited behaviors should immediately report the situation to the school counselor or principal. The student may also report concerns to teachers and other school staff who will be responsible for notifying the appropriate school administrator or Governing Board official. Complaints about prohibited behavior against the principal should be filed with the Director of Academics or Superintendent.

Every student is encouraged, and every staff member is required to report any situation that they believe to be prohibited behavior. Reports may be made to those identified previously. If a student or other individual believes there has been prohibited behavior, he/she should report it and allow the administration to determine the appropriate course of action. Any teacher, school administrator, or school staff member who does not timely make a written report of an incident of prohibited behavior shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the school’s disciplinary process found in the Employee Handbook.

All complaints about prohibited behavior shall be kept confidential and be promptly investigated. The principal or appropriate administrator will prepare a written report of the investigation upon completion. Such a report will include findings of fact, a determination of whether any prohibited behavior(s) were verified, and, when prohibited acts are verified, a recommendation for intervention, including disciplinary action, will be in the report. Where appropriate, written witness statements will be attached to the report. When the target of the prohibited behavior is a student, NCCA will provide that student with a written copy of the rights, protections, and support services available to him/her. If there is any evidence that the student has experienced physical harm as a result of the prohibited behavior, NCCA will promptly communicate that information to the appropriate personnel, including, but not limited to, emergency personnel and /or law enforcement.

If the investigation finds an instance of harassment, intimidation, bullying, dating violence, or any other prohibited behavior has occurred, it will result in prompt and appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action in accordance with NCCA’s disciplinary process. This may include up to expulsion for students; up to discharge for employees; exclusion for parents/guardians, guests, volunteers, and contractors; and removal from any official position and/or a request for a Governing Board member(s) to resign. Individuals may also be referred to law enforcement officials. Remedial and/or disciplinary action for employees will follow the procedures outlined in the Employee Handbook. Remedial and/or disciplinary action for students will follow the procedures outlined in the Student Handbooks.

When appropriate, the target(s) of the prohibited behavior (and/or such target(s) parents/guardians shall be notified of the findings of the investigation, and, when appropriate, that action has been taken. In providing such notification care shall be taken to respect the statutory privacy rights of the accused perpetrator of such harassment, intimidation, bullying, and/or dating violence.

If after investigation the act(s) of prohibited behavior by a specific student is/are verified, the school principal or appropriate administrator shall notify in writing the parent/guardian of the perpetrator of that finding. If disciplinary consequences are imposed against such student, a description of such discipline shall be included in the notification.

Retaliation against any person who reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint, or otherwise participates in an investigation or inquiry concerning allegations of harassment, intimidation, bullying, dating violence, or any other prohibited behavior will not be tolerated, independent of whether a complaint is substantiated. Such retaliation is considered a serious violation of school policy, and suspected retaliation should be reported in the same manner as prohibited behavior. Making intentionally false reports about prohibited behavior will not be tolerated. Retaliation and intentionally false reports may result in disciplinary action.

This policy shall not be interpreted as infringing upon the First Amendment rights of students (i.e., to prohibit a reasoned and civil exchange of opinions, or debate, that is conducted at appropriate times and places during the school day and is protected by state or federal law).

7.4 - Complaints

Students and/or their parents/guardians may file written reports regarding any suspected prohibited behavior to school staff. Such reports should be reasonably specific including person(s) involved, number of times and places of the alleged conduct, the target of the suspected prohibited behavior(s), and the names of any potential student or staff witnesses. Such reports may be filed with any school staff member or administrator, and they will be promptly forwarded to the principal for review, investigation, and action.

Students and/or their parents/guardians may make informal complaints of conduct that they consider to be prohibited behavior(s) by verbal report to a teacher, school administrator, or other school personnel. Such informal complaints will be reasonably specific including person(s) involved, number of times and places of the alleged conduct, the target of suspected prohibited behavior, and the names of any potential student or staff witnesses. A school staff member or administrator who received an informal complaint will promptly document the complaint in writing. This written report shall be promptly forwarded by the school staff member and/or administrator to the building principal for review, investigation, and appropriate action.

8.5 - Privacy and Confidentiality

NCCA will respect the privacy of the complaining individual, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the school’s legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to conform to any discovery or disclosure obligations. All records generated under this policy and its related administrative guidelines shall be maintained as confidential to the extent permitted by law.

7.6 - Bystanders

Bullying involves not only those who are bullies and their victims but also the bystanders who are witnesses. NCCA recognizes that bystanders may be negatively affected by bullying, but that they also have the potential to play a positive role in responding to it.

Bystanders may be negatively affected in the following or other ways:

Conversely, bystanders may be able to help victims of bullying by doing the following:

NCCA’s expectation is that student bystanders will report bullying to a school official or other appropriate adult in a timely manner. If it comes to the attention of the school leadership or staff that a student bystander did not report bullying, the school will initiate a conversation with the student regarding the school’s expectations for bystanders to report bullying. Second and subsequent occurrences of non-reporting of bullying may subject the student to more serious disciplinary action.

Additionally, if it is determined by the school leadership that a student who was initially a bystander became actively involved in the bullying, she or he may be subject to disciplinary action for bullying as described in Student Due Process.

7.7 - Suspension, Expulsion, Emergency Removal – Student Due Process

Students enrolled in NCCA are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the rules for the school, and parents/guardians are expected to cooperate with the school staff in helping students to maintain this conduct. Student codes of conduct are set forth below.

7.8 - Discipline Measures

There are three levels of disciplinary measures utilized by the school: warning, suspension, and expulsion.  Each level has associated conduct breach definitions and corresponding disciplinary actions that may occur.

Warning

Students who receive warnings from the school will have a conference (via phone or in person) with their parents/guardians and the school administrator(s), and the incident will be formally documented in writing and will become part of the student’s permanent record.  The student will not have a disruption in schooling and will not be removed from the class.  

Warnings are issued when a student demonstrates a breach of expected conduct, but not as serious as those listed under the suspension and/or expulsion categories in this handbook.

The school recognizes that exclusion from the educational program is a serious sanction and that suspension and expulsion must follow grievance process mandates.

The school’s Student Conduct Code (“Student Code” or “Code”) governs student behavior occurring on any school property, at any school-sponsored activities, or any activity – whether school-related or not, which activity substantially threatens school safety or operations.  

North Carolina law requires that the school have student conduct and discipline policies that comply with specific statutory and constitutional due process requirements.  These especially pertain to disciplinary actions related to serious misconduct by students, including the grounds, due process procedures, and rights related to suspension and/or expulsion of students.  These statutes are contained in Article 27 of Chapter 115C of the North Carolina General Statutes, available at http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_115C/Article_27.html.

Emergency Removal

If a student’s presence poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process taking place, the principal may remove a student from curricular activities or from the facility without the advance notice and hearing requirements of this policy, provided that a student subject to such removal shall have such rights afforded within a reasonable time following the removal.

Students with Disabilities

NCCA will comply with all state and federal law pertaining to students with disabilities. NCCA may remove a student with a disability who violates a code of student conduct from the student's current placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension, for not more than 10 consecutive school days. During these short term occasions, students will be offered an hour each of reading and math live lesson each day. For additional removals of more than 10 consecutive school days in that same school year for separate incidents of misconduct, a Manifestation Determination meeting will be conducted in accordance with state and federal IDEA and Section 504 laws.

7.9 - Behaviors Leading to Suspension

Behaviors that are prohibited and which may lead to suspension and/or expulsion include, but are not limited to, the following breaches of conduct. The following definitions are intended to provide guidance in assessing whether a particular behavior is prohibited behavior. They are not exhaustive in their scope and are not intended to replace the intuition of the individual. When in doubt as to whether or not a particular suspected behavior is a prohibited behavior, you are urged to rule on the side of caution and report your concerns to the appropriate authority, as provided for in this policy.

7.10 - Behaviors Leading to Expulsion

Students may be expelled from the school for behaviors that represent a clear threat to the safety of other students, staff, or other members of the school community.

7.11 - Academic Honesty and Plagiarism

NCCA requires the original work of all students and in so doing, prohibits plagiarism of the work of others. Students shall be expected to properly cite the origin of work that is not the student’s own. If work content, other than commonly known facts, is not properly cited, attributed, or credited, the work may be determined to be plagiarism.

Students may not plagiarize in written, oral, or creative work. In general, plagiarism occurs when a student uses another person’s words, products, or ideas without proper acknowledgment of the original work and with the intention of passing it off as his or her own. Plagiarism may occur deliberately (with the intention to deceive) or accidentally (due to poor referencing). It includes copying material from a book, copying and pasting information from the Internet, and getting family or friends to help with coursework.

7.11.1 - Consequences of Plagiarism - Grades K through 8

First Offense

The first time a student is determined to have plagiarized the work of other(s), the student will receive a warning. The student’s teacher will contact the student and the parent/guardian to explain the specific reason(s) why the work submitted is considered plagiarism and will discuss how to avoid plagiarizing again.  The student will be required to resubmit the question/assignment with original work and will be eligible to receive up to full credit for the assignment.  If the student chooses not to resubmit the work, the student will receive a zero for that question/assignment.

Second Offense

The second time a student is caught plagiarizing, he or she will receive a second warning. The student’s teacher will contact the student and the parent/guardian to explain the specific reason(s) why the work submitted is considered plagiarism, remind the student and parent/guardian that this is the second time the student has been caught plagiarizing, and will reinforce how to avoid plagiarism. The student will be required to redo the question/assignment and will be eligible to receive up to half credit.  If a student chooses not to resubmit the work, the student will receive a zero for that question/assignment.

Third Offense

The third time a student is caught plagiarizing; a required conference with the parent/guardian, student and administrator will be scheduled. He or she will receive a zero and will not have the opportunity to redo the question/assignment. Such repeated offenses of plagiarism by a student may result in a recommendation by the principal that the student is determined to be a repeat violator of school policy and disruption of school discipline. The third offense of plagiarism will result in a referral to the principal. The principal will meet with the student, the parent/guardian, and the teachers to discuss the incident(s). Any further violations of plagiarism policy may result in a determination to suspend or expel the student.  

7.11.2 - Consequences of Plagiarism - Grades 9 through 12

 

First Offense

The first time a student is determined to have plagiarized the work of other(s), the student will receive a warning. The student’s teacher will contact the student and the parent/guardian to explain to the student the specific reason(s) why the work submitted is considered plagiarism and will discuss with the student how to avoid plagiarizing again. The student will be required to resubmit the question/assignment with original work and will be eligible to receive up to half credit for the assignment. If a student chooses not to resubmit the work, the student will receive a zero for that question/assignment.

Second Offense

The second time a student is caught plagiarizing; the student will receive a zero and will not have the opportunity to redo the assignment. The teacher will initiate a Parent/Teacher call to remind the student and parent/guardian that this is the student’s second offense of plagiarism, discuss how the student can avoid plagiarism in future assignments, and explain the consequences of the student committing a third offence of plagiarism.

Third Offense

The third time a student is caught plagiarizing; he or she will receive a zero and will not have the opportunity to redo the question/assignment. This third incidence of plagiarism will be considered chronic plagiarism and will result in a referral to the principal.  The principal will meet with the student, the parent/guardian and the teachers to discuss the incident(s). Any further violations of plagiarism policy may result in a determination to suspend or expel the student.

7.12 - Grievance Policy for Parents/Guardians

The school is committed to ensuring parent/guardian satisfaction and takes its responsibilities for the provision of educational services to the student very seriously.  These school responsibilities are set out in the Entrance Agreement and the School Handbook and include such things as contacting the family regularly, delivering educational materials and equipment, and providing accessible support.  

The school will also ensure the family and student adhere to their responsibilities stated in the PLCA and the School Handbook, and when necessary, will discipline, unenroll a student, invoice, refer to collections, or take legal action against the family for a breach of the agreement or school policy.  Reasons for such disciplinary actions include, but are not limited to, failure to attend mandatory state testing, failure to return materials, or disputing the materials and equipment’s policy such as invoices for computer damage.

7.13 - Parent/Guardian Remedies

If a parent/guardian has concerns with the school’s action or performance on any of the above-defined school responsibilities or disciplinary actions, he or she has the following remedies available (depending on the severity of the issue):

Addressing Issues

For routine issues or for the first attempt at redress, contact NCCA via phone or email.

For more serious issues and/or to address a lack of resolution of the issue at a lower level, a detailed grievance procedure has been set forth below. All grievance proceedings will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the parties and the facts.  If a hearing is required for grievance proceedings, the parties will be provided with all due process procedures as required by law.

Where a parent/guardian feels that there has been discrimination or any other misconduct on the part of the school or its employees, then the parent/guardian must activate the grievance procedures and can directly report the complaint to the principal. If the complaint involves the school leader, then the complaint should go to the superintendent.

7.14 - Grievance Process for Parents/Guardians

  1. A parent/guardian with a grievance must report the grievance in writing and submit it to the student's teacher (or other appropriate NCCA staff members as necessary). All parties involved must be appropriately named and the problem must be clearly outlined.
  2. The recipient of the grievance must review the issue with his/her supervisor and respond to the parent/guardian within three (3) school days.
  3. If the original recipient did not resolve the grievance, the parent/guardian should request a meeting with the recipient's supervisor. The supervisor should investigate the matter, and schedule a meeting with the parent/guardian, the student, if necessary, and any other staff members (if necessary), within five (5) school days.
  4. If either party does not resolve this grievance, the parent/guardian should then request a meeting with the school administration. The school administration will investigate the matter and schedule a meeting within five (5) school days.
  5. If a resolution was not reached at the three (3) meetings, the parent/guardian may request a meeting with the members of the Governing Board, who will investigate the matter, and arrange a meeting within five (5) school days. This level of appeal should be reserved for complaints related to violations of laws or state and/or federal education policies.

If the school has not been able to address the parents/guardian's concern through the grievance process set out above, or if there has not been a prompt and equitable resolution of a complaint, the parent/guardian can contact the President of the Governing Board for further recourse. The contact information for the Governing Board can be found on the school website.


Section 8: Educational Materials Provided by the School

8.1 - Technology Provided by the School

All school educational materials, including webmail, computers and other technology, remain the property of the school and/or the school’s vendor partners.  The school or its vendor partner (as the case may be) reserves the right to at any time and for any reason either directly or through law enforcement inspect educational materials and review any content or activity conducted on or through the use of school-provided educational materials, including webmail, computers and other technology.

8.2 - Use of Personal Equipment and Software

Families who use their own computers and software should consult the School Handbook or school website to ensure their equipment meets the minimum system requirements.10.2.5 Use of the Internet.

8.3 - Internet Safety Policy

It is the policy of NCCA (the “school”) to:

To the extent, practical, technology protection measures (or “Internet filters”) shall be made available for all computers accessible by students and placed on the computers located at the school site locations. As required by CIPA, this blocking technology is applied to visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography or any other material deemed to be harmful to minors.

Technology protection measures may be disabled for adults or, in the case of minors, minimized only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

To the extent practicable, the school takes steps to promote the safety and security of users of Connexus the platform when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, and any other form of direct electronic communications.

Specifically, as required by CIPA, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes: (a) unauthorized access, including so-called ‘hacking’ and other unlawful activities; and (b) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.

To the extent practicable, the school, through its handbook, the Connexus Terms of Use and its staff, is committed to educating, supervising and monitoring the appropriate usage of Connexus all platforms and access to the Internet in accordance with this policy, CIPA, the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act, and Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act.

The school will provide age-appropriate training for students and parents who use Connection Academy’s Internet facilities. The training provided will be designed to promote Connection Academy’s commitment to the standards and acceptable use of Internet services, as set forth in the school’s handbook and the Connexus Terms of Use; and student safety with regard to safety on the Internet; appropriate behavior while online, on social networking websites, and in chat rooms; and cyberbullying awareness and response.

This Internet Safety Policy was adopted by the Board of NCCA at a public meeting, following public notice, on July 29, 2015.

pg