Frequently Asked Questions2020-12-30T09:39:17-05:00

The Distance School is a private, online international school that puts a focus on consistent, engaging distance learning.  Our goal is to assist families as they shift from the traditional education model (standardized curriculum focused on testing) to a modern learning model (personalized learning using project-based learning for assessment.) 

During these unprecedented times, we have seen many schools and teachers rise to the occasion, however, many families have grown increasingly frustrated with how districts have handled their child’s education during the CoVid-19 pandemic.  Specifically, their child’s education has become more of a chore for parents — many of whom are learning how to juggle working from home while preparing their children for distance learning each day.

The teachers at TDS seek to model kindness and empathy, not just to our students, but for our families at well.  This generation of learners flourish when given student agency, or the opportunity to have a voice and a choice in what they learn.  

Our certified educators provide students with live, interactive lessons, an award-winning curriculum in our Google Classroom library with over 60 self-paced courses, and over 3,000 self-paced K-12 lessons available on demand.  We provide our students with STEM project-based learning opportunities chosen by the students based on their interest level, and offer them the opportunity to collaborate with other international students across the globe.

Students and teachers meet twice every day via Google Meet for an interactive Nearpod lesson, and are assigned independent, adaptive, and exploratory learning opportunities. 

While learning is important, safety should always be the main priority of a school, and our teachers will do their best to ensure that the mental health of all are highlighted as much as an individual lesson.  Our 21st-century curriculum is provided through the Google EDU platform, which is in full compliance with the Child Online Privacy and Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA.) 

What are four ways TDS can move students towards becoming contributing and financially independent citizens?2020-07-29T09:04:56-04:00

The Distance School has created a 21st-century college and career readiness program using Nearpod, Khan Academy, and Defined Learning to ensure that our students are confident they will be able to succeed in the university of their choice or the career of their choosing.
Starting in our primary school, we use Nearpod’s college and career readiness program to expose our students to a variety of careers and colleges, including VR Career Tours and VR College Tours.

Also starting in our primary school, our Defined Learning resource uses real-world performance tasks to ensure that our students can demonstrate what they have learned.

These projects are displayed on their digital, holistic learning portfolio that is developed and monitored to demonstrate academic and personal growth and achievement. With higher learning institutions becoming so competitive, digital portfolios are being used by many colleges and universities who are moving away from traditional application methods, such as using GPA and SAT as their only criteria for success.

Also, in high school, we use Khan Academy to provide courses on SAT Prep, college admissions, careers, personal finance, and entrepreneurship.

How can our school help parents save money over the next week, month, or year?2020-07-29T09:07:48-04:00

One of the goals of TDS is to be affordable for all parents.  Our entire curriculum is online, and enrollment (less than $4.40 a day annually) gives families access to our full digital library.  That library includes over 2,300 STEM projects that our students will choose with their teacher based on their personal interests.  We also have over 3,000 Nearpod lessons in our Google Classroom, over 8,000 differentiated nonfiction articles on Newsela, access to the entire BrainPop curriculum, and our teachers coach students through Khan Academy’s expansive library.

How much time can I save them and what else could they do with that time?2020-07-29T09:09:49-04:00

We view our student’s time as just as valuable as ours.  In this new world we live in, making screen time a learning opportunity is now more important than ever.  This is why we believe in student agency, giving our students thousands of opportunities to learn what they want to learn about.

Our teachers conduct daily “homeroom” classes with other students around the world, and the amount of time and the amount of students depend on their age group.  We provide parents and students with daily and weekly reports to make sure that our students stay on schedule with expected learning outcomes, and to be completely transparent with parents who are wondering what their child is learning that day.

What is something they don’t have to do anymore once they enroll with us?2020-07-29T09:10:39-04:00

Based on research since the start of distance learning, we have listened to parents and how to best ensure their happiness along with promoting the enjoyment of learning for our students.  As an environmentally-friendly and paperless school, the days of printing up daily assignments are long gone. 

All of our resources are interconnected with our Google EDU learning ecosystem, making connecting to any app or resource as simple as logging in with Google.

How does our school eliminate worry for them?2020-07-29T09:11:13-04:00

TDS provides families with all the data and evidence of learning needed to provide to state and federal governments.  We make sure that you and your family are in compliance with homeschool laws in your local district or state.

Students and families will not have to worry about weekly tests, the antiquated and subjective A-F grading system, and report cards are a thing of the past. TDS replaced these outdated practices with project based learning assessments, student data, and provide consistency in education with a holistic digital learning portfolio.  

TDS is a Google EDU school in compliance with the Child Online and Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA).  This gives us the ability to ensure the safety of our students online.  We have a zero-tolerance policy for cyberbullying, and we have gone the extra step to block any domains (ie, not associated with learning.  This ensures that people from outside our domain name can not reach your child, and allows us to investigate any threatening behaviors within the domain.

What are three ways our school can help families feel more comfortable?2020-07-29T09:11:34-04:00

The Distance School is empathetic to each family during this time.   This is why we are proud to connect our students with new friends from other parts of the world to come together during this time to collaborate on Nearpod lessons and STEM projects.

We also understand that everyone’s lives are different.  Therefore, we use a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning to connect with our students, and to have them connect with each other. 

Our goal is to help parents with information, data, and weekly reports.  We value each parent’s opinion, because our core belief is that the 3 most important units in education are the voices of the parents, the teachers, and the students.

What are 3 things our school is doing to assure health & safety?2020-07-29T09:12:01-04:00

Besides our zero-tolerance policy on bullying and being in compliance with COPPA, TDS puts a lot of emphasis on student mental health.  Students have access to a full social and emotional learning curriculum, and there is a major focus on Digital Citizenship.

More importantly than anything, we will allow parents and families who do not wish to return to school to be able to get a private, personalized education from the safety of your home.  Let’s face it, not all of us are ready to return to normal, and schools will not look the same until a vaccine is found.

How can TDS make our families feel more loved?2020-07-29T09:12:15-04:00

Families are an integral part of our student’s and our school’s success.  From our daily homeroom classes to working personally with each student to develop a digital portfolio that builds their love of learning, accomplishment, and of self.  Our goal is to nurture our students with kindness and empathy,  and to make sure our parents and our students feel the love that each of our teachers will bring into their home.

How can we be increasing our students’ future social status?2020-07-29T09:12:35-04:00

Our motto is, “We Teach the Kindest Generation.”  It’s something that every teacher understands, and it means that we will help to model and allow them to explore the importance of being kind, empathetic, and having a growth mindset.  

In addition, our 21st-century curriculum promotes diversity.  Many traditional school models have “taught students to be smart enough to work, but not smart enough to think critically.”  TDS holds our students to the highest academic and character standards, and that is what makes us different.

How can we help our students build character?2020-07-29T09:12:51-04:00

The Distance School has ARK days planned once a week, and four ARK weeks planned once a year.  ARK stands for Acts of Random Kindness.  While our original goal was to spend 1 day of the school week helping others in the community, not every student can do so during a pandemic.  However, our model allows our students to spend that day helping their parents around the house, learning valuable life skills.

Their philanthropic efforts will be documented on their holistic learning portfolio.

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