FAQ

Below are answers to our visitors' most frequently asked questions about VHS. If you cannot find the answer to your question listed below please call us at 978.897.1900 or email us at info@thevhs.org.

Q:
What membership options are available for new schools wishing to participate in VHS?
A:

Schools can join VHS as Teaching Members or Student-Only schools. Teaching Members participate in VHS by freeing a high school teacher one period a day to teach a VHS course online. Student-Only schools do not have a teacher teaching a VHS course, but only have students taking VHS courses. VHS also accepts individual students. For more information, check out our Getting Started page.

Q:
Could someone meet with my school to review the VHS program?
A:

If your school would like to have someone from The VHS Collaborative to meet with your school administrators or to present to your school board members or staff, please contact a School Development Specialist or call 978-897-1900 x3.

Q:
How can my school join VHS?
A:

Your school can join The VHS Collaborative through our Student-Only Membership or Teaching Membership programs. These are more fully described on our Getting Started page.

Q:
What are the costs to join VHS?
A:

Costs to join The VHS Collaborative vary depending upon the membership option your school selects. Please contact VHS School Development Specialist or call 978-897-1900 x3 to request information on membership pricing.

Q:
Can home school students participate in VHS?
A:

VHS does accept individual students. For more information, check out our Getting Started page or contact VHS School Development Specialist at 978.897.1900 x3 to request information on individual student pricing.

Q:
Are there certification requirements for VHS teachers?
A:

All VHS teachers are certified in the disciplines in which they teach.

Q:
How are the VHS teachers trained and qualified?
A:

VHS teachers must participate in and successfully graduate from VHS online professional development NetCourse Instructional Methodologies in order to teach a VHS course.

Q:
Can every student proceed at his or her own pace and schedule?
A:

The VHS Collaborative courses are not digital correspondence classes. VHS believes in student-centered classes which encourage collaboration among students. Therefore, our classes run on an asynchronous weekly-scheduled basis. This means that although the student has the flexibility to access his or her class anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there are definite due dates and scheduled deadlines for assignments and activities.

Q:
What are the technical requirements for students participating in VHS courses?
A:

Students only need reliable access to the Internet and a compatible web browser.

Q:
What type of student should take a VHS online course?
A:

The VHS Course Catalog has classes for high school and middle school students of all levels. We also have courses for Gifted & Talented and Middle School students. The entire range of student abilities is reflected in the VHS course catalog – from Advanced Placement and honors level classes to courses offered for remediation and credit recovery.

Q:
What are the keys to a successful learning experience?
A:

Just as in a face-to-face class, regular attendance, active participation, timely completion of assignments, and thorough attention to task make for a successful online learning experience.

Q:
How do students interact with each other?
A:

Student-to-student interaction is an integral part of all VHS courses. Students communicate through asynchronous threaded discussion.

Q:
Will VHS replace traditional schools?
A:

While VHS believes that virtual courses should be a required component of traditional education, VHS is not a cyberschool. VHS believes that virtual learning enhances face-to-face instruction, but is not a replacement for traditional schooling.

Q:
How are VHS courses structured?
A:

Our courses are asynchronous, which means that there are no live meeting times during which students and their teacher gather as a class. Students read lessons, work on and submit their assignments, participate in group projects, and contribute to class discussions at any time, as long as they meet due dates for class assignments and keep up with the general flow of the class.

Q:
How many VHS courses can a student enroll in per semester?
A:

A student can take up to three VHS Collaborative courses in a semester. Additional courses for special circumstances are considered on a case by case basis.

Q:
What is the maximum student: teacher ratio you would allow?
A:

We never allow more than 25 students in a class. Our average class size is 21.

Q:
Do you have online storage where students can store documents they are working on?
A:

Yes, students can save their work as "in progress" so that they can come back to complete it at a later time.

Q:
Do you have any evidence that students can learn this way?
A:

VHS has been extensively studied, and the research indicates that students learn online through The VHS Collaborative as much, and in many cases more, than they do in traditional classrooms. For more Information, read about The VHS Collaborative's Commitment to Quality.

Q:
Are your teachers trained in online instruction? If so, how extensively?
A:

In order to teach for us, all our teachers must successfully complete one of our online professional development courses in online teaching pedagogy and methods.

Q:
Do your teachers post their hours of availability? Generally what are their hours of availability?
A:

As all of our courses are asynchronous, there is no set time the teacher must be online. However, all teachers must be in class and respond to all students within 24 hours (Monday - Friday).

Q:
How would you describe the frequency in which your teachers have contact with students (daily, weekly, or whenever needed)?
A:

The participation of our teachers is monitored and reported on weekly. Teachers must be in class each day and respond to students within 24 hours (Monday - Friday).

Q:
Will VHS offer summer courses?
A:

VHS offers two sessions of summer school courses each year. Courses are offered for both enrichment and credit recovery.

Q:
What are the key dates in the VHS 2013-14 calendar?
A:

Spring 2014

  • January 8, 2014 - Week 16 begins for Full-year courses
  • January 29, 2014 - Week 1 begins for Spring courses
  • February 4, 2014 - Add period ends
  • February 21, 2014 - Drop period ends
  • March 25, 2014 - Term 1 ends
  • March 26, 2014 - Term 2 begins
  • May 13, 2014 - Spring semester ends

Summer 2014

Extended Session: June 26, 2014 - August 22, 2014
Session 1: June 26, 2014 - July 25, 2014
Sessino 2: July 28, 2014 - August 22, 2014

Note: Extended Session and Session 1 start on Thursday to accommodate the July 4 Holiday. Schedule subject to change.

Fall 2014

  • August 6, 2014 - Student Orientation
  • September 3, 2014 -  Fall semester begins
  • September 9, 2014 - Add period ends
  • September 26, 2014 - Drop period ends 
  • October 28, 2014 - Term 1 ends
  • October 29, 2014 - Term 2 begins
  • December 16, 2014 - Fall semester ends

Spring 2015

  • January 7, 2015 - Week 16 begins for Full-year courses
  • January 28, 2015 - Week 1 begins for Spring courses
  • February 3, 2015 - Add period ends
  • February 20, 2015 - Drop period ends
  • March 24, 2015 - Term 1 ends
  • March 25, 2015 - Term 2 begins
  • May 12, 2015 - Spring semester ends

Q:
What is VHS’s Student Add Policy?
A:

Students may add courses within the first week of the start of a semester. Students may drop courses, without consequence, up to one week after the start date. After this period, students will receive a Withdraw(W) from the VHS. Dropping or adding of courses is to be done through the VHS site coordinator.

Q:
Are VHS courses accredited?
A:

VHS and VHS courses are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education and the Northwest Accreditation Commission. VHS schools are accredited by their local accrediting agency, and participating member schools have agreed to give credit to VHS courses as either core courses or electives. In addition, all VHS core courses have NCAA initial-accreditation.

Q:
How will students be graded and receive credit for their participation?
A:

There is a common grading system for all courses in The VHS Collaborative. Teachers report grades to the VHS, which passes these grades on to the student's administrative office.

Q:
Is VHS a publicly held company?
A:

VHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on May, 2001.

Q:
Is VHS an accredited institution?
A:

VHS is nationally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education and the Northwest Accreditation Commission. VHS member schools are accredited by their local accrediting agency. Course credit is determined and issued by the member school, not by VHS. VHS does not provide full time enrollment options and, therefore, does not issue diplomas.

Q:
Where is VHS?
A:

Based in Massachusetts The VHS Collaborative offices are located at 4 Clock Tower Place, Suite 510, Maynard, MA 01754.