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Learning Technology > Maine Online Learning Program > Approved Online Learning Providers > NorthStar Academy Application

 

NorthStar Academy's Learning'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.

NorthStar is a faith-based school. However, we accept students of all religions. The NSA student body includes Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists & atheists.

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.

We are fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-CASI) and have maintained this accreditation since 2005. Our catalog is listed online at http://www.northstar-academy.org/catalog. Pacing guides and syllabi are available for any course offered.

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.

All teachers are certified and are teaching in their area of education and certification. Document can be provided for each NorthStar teacher. NorthStar teachers are scattered throughout the states, as well as foreign countries, so the state of accreditation varies per teacher. For example, I am the principal of NorthStar. I am certified through the state of Mississippi, license number 208482; this expires June 2016.

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 are given several hours of pre-service training. This is mostly done in a one-on-one setting. Teachers also have an extensive orientation to attend. Besides the requirements to keep certification current, all teachers must give evidence of 6 hours of personal development per yearly contract. Bi-monthly training sessions are provided by the school to help a teacher continue to grow professionally. Conferences are attended by some staff.

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.

Students must complete 18 weeks of lessons for a semester course and 36 weeks of lessons for a year-long course. This must be accomplished within 52 weeks of the start date. An up-to-date progress report is available at any time and can be immediately viewed by parents. Assessments include unit assessments as well as mid-term and semester assessments. All tests are password protected; the passwords are locked in a secure area of our online school where only supervisors can gain access. Supervisors sign an agreement that they are in the room at all times, observing while assessments are being administered.

6. Administrators, 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.

Because all teachers are certified, this is part of the certification process.

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.

All course material is kept in the school's LMS. This LMS has clear icons, provides keyboard access to all functions, and has visual cues for audio. Color coding is not used. Documents do not have patterned backgrounds.