Lincoln National Academy's Application for the Maine Online Learning Program
1. The online learning provider must be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices and operations.
Demonstrate how your organization meets this requirement and provide documentation that confirms this. URLs linking to supporting evidence are also acceptable.
Lincoln National Academy is nonsectarian in its practices. Lincoln National Academy (LNA) will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, handicap, or familial status in the establishment of fees, entrance qualifications, or standards of successful completion in any course. Regardless of where students live, or their socioeconomic background, they will have access to a quality course and a highly qualified teacher. Admission to Lincoln National Academy courses is open. Any student may enroll in any course during the term in which the course is offered, regardless of age or grade level.
Each course is term-based. Courses are structured to be completed within a specific term or timeframe. Students must be enrolled in the course two weeks prior to the beginning of the term in which the course is offered. (This is done to allow LNA time to set up the course, to ensure a teacher is available to provide instruction, etc.). As a business unit of Cambium Education, Inc., Lincoln National Academy follows all Cambium Education equal employment opportunities policies and affirmative action plans. Cambium Education, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer, and as such, does not discriminate in their employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, gender, marital status, unfavorable discharge from military service, sexual orientation, handicap/disability, or age.
2. Each course offered for a unit of credit must correlate with applicable state-adopted academic standards prior to being offered. All courses must include assessments.
Demonstrate how your organization meets this requirement and provide documentation that confirms this. Provide an example of a correlation report that demonstrates how a course offered by your organization aligns with state standards. Upon request, within 5 business days an approved Online Learning Provider must be prepared to provide either the Department, or the school administrative unit, a correlation report for any online course being offered.
Lincoln National Academy educator utilizes online curriculum from Class.com. Reports detailing how Class.com core courses align to Maine Learning Standards and Common Core State Standards can be provided immediately upon request. A sample report has been included with this application or all reports are readily available from the Class.com website.
3. A teacher employed by the online learning provider and providing instruction to students must hold a valid teaching certificate in each content area being taught or receive approval from the commissioner to teach the course.
Demonstrate how your organization meets this requirement and provide documentation that confirms this. Provide a list of those teachers who teach Maine students that includes: the name of the certified teacher, the content areas in which they are certified, the State in which their certification was obtained, and the expiration date of the certification. This list must be updated June 30th and December 30th of each year for which the online learning provider is listed, to reflect changes following the initial application and approval.
Lincoln National Academy hires teachers on an as-needed basis. In situations where states have requirements regarding teacher credentials; Lincoln National Academy ensures all teachers are hired in compliance with local rules and regulations. LNA is committed to providing Maine DOE with updated teachers information by December 30th and and June 30th of each year.
4. A teacher employed by the online learning provider must receive appropriate preservice and in-service training pertaining to the organization of the online classroom, programs and courses, the technical aspects of online education, the monitoring of student assessment and other pertinent training.
Describe the pre-service and in-service training, as outlined above, that is provided to teachers in your organization.
All teachers hired by Lincoln National Academy are highly qualified, with at least three years online and five years general teaching experience. They also are endorsed to teach in their subject area. Regardless of their background, LNA teachers undergo extensive training to ensure they not only understand the functionality of the delivery system but also understand their responsibility to provide appropriate and effective instruction to students according to established and well-defined expectations and applicable local laws and regulations. During the teacher training, teachers are provided specific expectations that include the approved methods for communicating with students and proctors, as well as instruction on how to become effective online teachers. Through active participation and use of the training materials, teachers achieve the outcomes listed below.
- Develop skills needed to:
- Personalize the home page
- Set up the course
- Communicate with students
- Use the gradebook
- Explore options for managing the online coursework
- Utilize reports to show student progress in the course
- Develop advanced skills for using the learning management system
- Explore how students navigate through the online courseware
- Explore student activities, assignments, and quizzes in the course
- Review the message features used to communicate with the teacher
- Identify items needed to begin the implementation
- Identity items needed to ensure fidelity of the implementation
- Explore ways to enhance their online teaching experience
- Review options for managing the online courseware
The items noted above begin the process for coaching teachers. The goal of the training is to establish a strong understanding of expectations. We do not train teachers to teach content, they are content experts, we train teachers to effectively use the learning management system with confidence. In addition, learn how to transfer their classroom teaching skills to an online environment.
Teachers who participate in training, whether face-to-face or via webinar, are introduced to each other and we recommend that they share ideas and frustrations. Our monthly teacher meetings provide the teachers with an opportunity to communicate one-on-one or as a group to discuss issues that relate to the online learning environment. Through special features of our customized learning management systems, teachers can share resources and teaching tips. Teachers undergo an ongoing performance evaluation that begins the first day of class and progresses throughout the semester. LNA administrator gives teachers meaningful and regular feedback on their performance. The evaluation process includes a review of all messages that are captured within the delivery system, as well as input from students, proctors, and local administrators.
5. The online learning provider must verify ongoing student attendance and progress and performance in each course as documented by ongoing assessments in a proctored environment and provide examples of student course work.
Describe how attendance, progress and performance are assessed, and also the level to which assessments are typically proctored online and/or locally.
Lincoln National Academy requires that each student provide the name of an individual who is able to serve as a proctor to that student. The proctor and LNA teacher work together to verify and promote student progress and performance. While the specific responsibilities may vary depending on the implementation, the basic roles and responsibilities of teachers, proctors, and students are outlined below.
The proctor will:
- Ensure that the student has a laptop or desktop computer with Internet access each day
- Teach the student how to log on and operate the system, as needed
- Make sure the student is logging on and working each day
- Support teacher efforts to keep students on pace
- Communicate weekly with the online teacher using the courseware messaging system or other means arranged by the teacher
- Serve as an intermediary with the parents/guardians if needed
- Supply student and parent with a copy of the regularly issued progress report
- Report any unresolved problems or specific concerns to the LNA administrator
- Monitor the testing environment. If/when passwords are provided by the online teacher, keep them in a secure location. Allow enough time for the student to finish the test in one class period.
- Monitor students as they are taking tests to be sure that they do not have multiple browser windows open
The teacher will:
- Prepare and provide a pacing guide
- Update the announcement to define course expectations
- Introduce concepts and provide context for the new ideas and skills
- Create links between what the student already knows and the new things they are learning
- Individually motivate and coach students
- Review students’ online activities
- Keep track of individual pace and performance on quizzes
- Answer individual questions and push those answers to the entire group of learners
- Pose questions to create challenges and provoke thoughtful analysis
- Provide stimulus for a student to ask questions
The student will:
- Log on to their course at the same time each day
- Work through the course using the pacing guide provided by their online teacher
- Send messages to the online teacher requesting help, or reporting progress
- Schedule testing in advance, with their proctor
- Review the results of their tests and complete additional practice exercises as described by the online teacher
If the student is participating in online classes during the established school day, the proctor may be involved in managing the learning environment in the same room with the student as they learn online. If the student is not participating in online classes during the established school day, the proctor may monitor student progress by viewing the student’s grades, and administering tests by scheduling time with the student.
6. Administators, teachers and other educational staff employed by the online learning provider must comply with the fingerprinting and national criminal history record check requirements as set forth in section 6103.
Provide evidence of the protocol your organization uses to meet national criminal history record checks. Demonstrate how your organization meets this requirement and provide documentation that confirms this.
All Lincoln National Academy professional staff, administrators, teachers and other educational staff are required to adhere to the guidelines established by their resident/teacher licensing state as they relate to fingerprinting and national criminal history record check. All teachers undergo a background check. Teachers hired from states that require fingerprinting provide a copy of their results.
7. The online learning program must comply with the State's information technology accessibility policies and standards. Maine’s information technology accessibility policies and standards can be found here:
a. Web accessibility
b. Software accessibility
Describe how your organization complies with these standards and/or provide a copy of the organization’s policy document that demonstrates evidence of this.
When designing courses to be accessible to individuals with disabilities, courseware developers strive to maximize the learning of all students. Lincoln National Academy courses are developed in accordance with universal web design principles and conform to the U.S. Sections 504 and 508 provisions for electronic and information technology as well as the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).
The following examples describe a few of our web design strategies and features that help students and teachers with sight, hearing or mobility challenges.
Web design guidelines
- Course navigation is consistent, clear and visible, and can be navigated without a mouse.
- Document structure is controlled through the use of styles.
- Recommended fonts are used. (Sans-Serif, Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, and Helvetica)
- Links are visually and functionally consistent throughout the course.
- Color used throughout the course provides sufficient contrast and is easily viewable with the color function turned off.
- Alternative text and/or descriptions are provided for all non-text elements throughout the course.
- Columns and Tables are organized in a linear manner and use column and row headers properly.
Tools and features
- Courses easily integrate with assistive technologies, including screen-readers and wands or other alternate input devices.
- Browsealoud, our licensed and free-to-download screen reader, supports students with lower reading levels, auditory learning styles, or certain visual limitations and learning disabilities.
- The voice quality, volume, and pacing of the screen reader can be adjusted for individual student preferences and needs.
- A banner at the top of the screen increases font size for students with visual impairments.
- Most multimedia presentations – including audio and video clips – include onscreen transcripts.