Student Behavior Policy
Please sit down with your student to read, sign, and submit the Student Behavior Policy after sending in registration fees for live classes.
"What is the 'Student Behavior Policy' we will be asked to agree to and support?"
The Student Behavior Policy that applies to the live online classes and the one-on-one guided courses is as follows. All students and teaching-parents are asked to read and confirm that they will actively promote the Student Behavior Policy in live conversations and on the STAA Student Zone.
Safety and Conduct
St. Thomas Aquinas Academy expects all students to exhibit kind, noble, uplifting behavior that is becoming of young Catholics in email, forum posts, and telephone/web meetings. Profile images on the Student Zone must be modest and exhibit a sense of personal dignity. Forum posts may not include any personal contact information, any mention of usernames or contact names on other websites or apps, and may not include links to any other websites. We ask that all students aim to be virtuous young men and women that cultivate thoughtful, jovial, and warm personas with the words they use on the website and during meetings.
Student Email Policy
1) Each student needs an email address that he or she can access regularly.
2) All correspondence about the courses will take place through the course webpage and forums on the STAA Student Zone. There is a "mailbox" for students to use to contact their advisor during the school year. Parents will be included in all correspondence through the mailbox. (See the Live Classes page of the STAA Student Zone.)
3) By affirming consent to this Student Behavior Policy, you are giving permission for your St. Thomas Aquinas Academy high school advisor to contact your student directly by email should there be a special, private concern. When email contact is initiated by the course advisor, the student's parents are included on the cc line. Direct communication by email is very rare since it is less reliable than the Live Classes messaging system on the STAA Student Zone.
4) Parents are not included in replies to emails that students initiate through email so any email message sent through the regular email system will be copy-and-pasted into the Live Classes messaging system on the STAA Student Zone so it is viewable by the student, the student's parents, and the advisor. Regular emails are not replied to as quickly as messages sent through the Live Classes messaging system; it is best to just use the messaging system from the start.
5) Your student's email address will not be shared with anyone beyond your high school/course advisor. St. Thomas Aquinas Academy never shares (and definitely never sells) contact information with any other institution or entity without express written permission from the child's parent.
6) Student email addresses will be subscribed to school-wide email notifications, such as the STAA e-newsletter. There will be an "unsubscribe" link provided at the bottom of the e-newsletters so students can control whether or not they receive future e-newsletters. At this time, STAA uses online services such as Constant Contact, Acuity Scheduling, Shopify, and Mad Mimi to send out e-newsletters and reminders about meetings and appointments.
Respecting Class Time
Start time: Each meeting will start promptly, opening with a short prayer. Students will want to be logged into the meeting through the meeting software or by telephone on time to test their sound, microphone, and connection. Plan on logging in at least five minutes early.
Broadcasting sound: Students are responsible for managing the sound in their environment so it does not interrupt the class meeting or hurt the ears of those attending. When called upon to share their thoughts, students will need to unmute their microphones, share their ideas, comments, and questions, and then mute their microphones to help keep the noise level of the meeting to a minimum, making it possible for the next speaker to be heard well.
Attending from a noisy environment: If students find they are in a noisy environment at the time of the meeting -- a car, a part of the house with playful siblings or music practice taking place, etc. -- they are welcome to connect to the meeting to listen in, but they will not be called upon to unmute the microphone and participate in the conversation. Since participation cannot be graded in such cases, the assignment points earned for the scheduled discussion will be adjusted accordingly.
Interruptions: Since the attendees are not all in the same physical location and are not able to see visual clues from the other attendees, it is likely that there will be accidental interruptions when others are speaking. Such mistakes are understandable, but we want to make an effort to keep them to a minimum. Be respectful of the person that is speaking. Wait to be called upon to share your response. Avoid blurting out responses and speaking over other people.
Patience, understanding, and kindness: The live classes are small group discussions. Students with a variety of skills, aptitudes, gifts, challenges, backgrounds, and experiences will be present in each class -- just like when you attend events or classes at your parish. Each student will be required to exhibit kindness and grace in disposition toward the other students. It is important that everyone is respected while they speak and respond.
Staying on topic: There are bound to be some off-topic discussions during the course of the class conversations. It is the obligation of the students and the advisor to make sure that if the conversation is derailed, it is quickly redirected to the topics that pertain to the course. Staying on topic also means that it is important to share with the class only the parts of a personal story that directly apply to the point or topic being discussed. Just as a written paragraph is supposed to stay connected to the topic sentence and all the extraneous, disconnected details edited out, we want to practice verbally sharing ideas, stories, and questions concisely and precisely.
St. Thomas Aquinas Academy does not maintain an administrative staff to deal with behavioral issues. After three documented occasions of disrespectful, inappropriate, foul, or aggressive behavior, students will be moved entirely to QUIZZES & GRADED only status and will be unable to post on the Q & A forums (in other words, the regular meetings with the advisor will no longer take place, but the student may still submit work and take the quizzes). There are no refunds given if a student's status is changed to QUIZZES & GRADED because of documented behavioral issues. The GRADED status will be canceled without refund if the student turns in inappropriate or objectionable coursework.
Parent/Advisor Meetings: Teaching-parents may schedule an appointment with the high school advisor to discuss behavioral issues or other class concerns as needed. Use your enrollment package code if your student is enrolled in STAA or pay-as-you-go when scheduling private meetings with your high school advisor.
The following assignment submission policies are designed to keep students on track, not find themselves in a situation where they have a pile-up of late assignments, and get their work to their advisor in a timely manner so they can receive helpful, timely feedback that they can apply to the next activity. Students and parents will want to make it a habit to meet with each other weekly, sign into the STAA Student Zone, look at the posted assignments, and read through the advisor's remarks on meetings, formal writing assignments, and essay questions. Parental involvement in time management and developing organizational skills is an important part of student academic success.
Students must submit assignments through the STAA Student Zone so the system can document that the assignment has been submitted by the student, when it was submitted by the student, and that is it now ready for review and grading by the high school advisor. Assignments should be submitted as Microsoft Word .DOCX files unless the assignment specifies using a .PDF file type or a specially assigned template. The method for uploading and submitting assignments will be addressed in the class orientation meeting as well as in the High School Orientation resource on the STAA Student Zone. In general, the recommended software to use is Microsoft Word (or a similar, compatible word processing program). Students that are not using Microsoft Word will need to explore the software they are using to find the "Export as Microsoft Word .docx" option as well as the "Export as pdf" option.
Late Assignment Policy: Student work must be uploaded to the designated places on the STAA Student Zone during the open submission window in order to receive an advisor review and percentage grade. Parents may choose to review and grade assignments that students do not finish on time and manually record the grades that they issue for the past due assignments in the printed gradebook.
Assignments in ♞Black Schedule and ♘White Schedule courses have Saturday at 11:59 p.m. due dates.
The most important assignments of each quarter (the essential assignments that are considered work samples) are marked with star symbols (★) and also have Saturday by 11:59 p.m. due dates. These starred assignments are unique in that they have the standard Saturday due date as well as a late-submission window. The late-submission window is typically one week. The late-submission window is reduced to three days if the starred assignment is due the very last week of the course (Week 16, Day 5). Starred assignments turned during the late-submission window will be reviewed and graded by your advisor, but the percentage grade will be reduced by ten percent. For clarity: starred assignments that are submitted after the due date and during the late-submission window will incur a 10% grade penalty.
Assignments that are not starred are important, but they are not as important as the starred assignments. To guard against making it a habit to turn in assignments at the last minute or using late-submission windows, assignments without stars cannot be turned in late for advisor review and grading. The assignments that are not starred must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on the Saturdays they are due; these assignments are typically worth fewer points and do not have a late-submission window.
Writing and Math are the two most important subjects every semester for every student and should be given priority over all other coursework. To encourage prioritizing coursework in the writing and reasoning courses, the due dates for assignments in these courses are Fridays by 11:59 p.m. A one-day late-submission window will be open for these courses, but that means assignments submitted on Saturdays are subject to the 10% grade penalty. Our goal is to review and grade all assignments submitted on or before the Friday due dates in time to release the reviews to students before the Tuesday live class meetings. For clarity: Assignments in Composition I and II, Essay Writing B, Logic, Essay Writing A, and Critical Reading are due on Fridays by 11:59 p.m.; the late-submission window for these assignments closes the following day.
All due dates and late-submission windows reflect our desire that Sundays are left entirely for worship, family time, and rest. The STAA Student Zone does not shut down on Sundays, but students are never expected to use Sundays for coursework.
Quarter Grades and Parental Authority over Grades: Quarter grades will be calculated by the advisor based on the assignments that are submitted by the due dates or during any open late-submission windows. Assignments that are not properly submitted through the STAA Student Zone during the "on time" or "late assignment" periods are automatically marked with a zero by the computer system. Parents are welcome to supersede this zero score by grading the late assignment on their own and recording that grade manually in the printed version of the course's gradebook. Your advisor and the computer system will not have a record of this change so the parent will need to manually recalculate the grade the advisor issues at the end of the quarter to reflect the special changes the parent authorized for his or her student. The STAA Student Zone shows the status and grades of all class meetings, quizzes, and assignments throughout the entire semester--1) log in as a parent and click on the "Your Students" resource at the very bottom of the website or 2) log in as the student and click on "My Grades" at the top of the website. The advisor assignment reviews and scoring on individual essay questions are only available for viewing when logged in as the student. At the end of the semester, the advisor will download the percentage grades from the STAA Student Zone and calculate the official quarter grades using the printed gradebook; parents are encouraged to update the printed gradebook to reflect any changes they deem necessary (emergencies situations, illnesses, planned absences, special academic targets, or assignments, late work, make-up meetings, revisions, or extra credit students submitted to their parents). For clarity: Parents are encouraged to update the official, printed gradebook that the advisor issues at the end of the semester to confirm the grades that should be printed on the student's transcript.
Viewing Grades: Student grades may be viewed at any time throughout the semester by signing in to the STAA Student Zone with the student's username and password, clicking on the drop-down arrow next to the student's name in the top right corner of the site, selecting "My Grades" from the drop-down menu, and clicking on the name of the course you wish to view. The reviews and grades for each assignment will display. Click on the name of an individual assignment to view the assignment instructions and the "Feedback files" uploaded by the high school advisor. The "Feedback files" are typically annotated copies of the student's assignment and/or an assignment rating rubric.
Emergency Extensions: Parents may request assignment due date extensions when unexpected emergencies interrupt their student's ability to submit the assignment while the submission window is open. Emergency Extensions are only available for starred assignments. All Emergency Extensions must be requested by a parent through the Live Classes messaging system on the STAA Student Zone.
Extensions cannot be authorized for assignments due the final day of the semester (Week 16, Day 5). Week 16 assignments that cannot be submitted by the due date or the three-day late-submission window should be completed by the student, graded by the parent, and manually entered on the printed gradebook.
St. Thomas Aquinas Academy expects all students to abide by ethical academic standards. Academic dishonesty—including plagiarism, cheating or copying the work of another, using unauthorized technology—is strictly prohibited. Plagiarism is to commit literary theft; to steal the ideas or words of someone else and pass them off as one’s own ideas or words. When you use someone else’s words, you must put quotation marks around them and give the writer or speaker credit by citing the source. Even when you revise or paraphrase the words of someone else, you must give the author credit for the ideas. All academic dishonesty will be documented and brought to the attention of the student's teaching-parents. Repeat violations will result in the cancellation, without refund, of any advisor grading services.
Course Cancellation Policy
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