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 use of the STAA Student Zone is included on this webpage.  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.

The first part of the agreement will ask parents to confirm their own contact information (address, email, and telephone) as well as give permission to add the student's contact information into our communication system.  In addition to requesting your student's full name, date of birth, grade level, and email address, the form will ask about your student's academic history.  There will be two fields on the form requesting the names of the most recent math, composition, and grammar texts the student has studied.  Students who are brand-new to St. Thomas Aquinas Academy will be asked to upload a transcript or list of courses/texts from Grades 8 through 12.  Here is a screenshot of the transcript request portion of the form:  

Students who have not yet taken any high school courses need only complete the math and language arts fields on the form.  The instructions for those fields are listed here:
  • List the title of the most recent math text this student has studied.
  • List the titles of the most recent composition and grammar texts this student has studied.



This copy of the policy is provided here for you to review before signing the official online form mentioned above.

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 who 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. During the school year, students can use a "mailbox" to contact the course advisor. Parents will be included in all correspondence through the mailbox. This mailbox is available on the "Live Class" page on the STAA Student Zone and linked to at the top of every course page on the site.

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 not as reliable as the Live Classes messaging system on the STAA Student Zone (the "mailbox mentioned above").

4) Parents are not included in replies to emails that students initiate by 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. An "unsubscribe" link will be 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 prayer from the front of the STAA Study Guide. Students must be logged into meetings 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 who is speaking.  Wait to be called upon to share your response unless it is an open, volunteer, and chime-in portion of the meeting.  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.

Behavioral Issues

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. They 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.

Forum Participation: If the STAA staff determines that a student has violated the forum safety and conduct rules, the student's access to the Q&A forums may be suspended without reinstatement. Students suspended from the forums will be able to view posts but not create or reply to them. They may still contact their advisor through the on-site messaging system.

Submitting Assignments

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 was submitted by the student, when it was submitted by the student, and that it is 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 who 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 PolicyStudent work must be uploaded to the designated places on the STAA Student Zone during the open submission window 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 past-due assignments in the printed gradebook.
       Assignments in ♞Black Schedule and ♘White Schedule courses generally 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 generally have Friday by 11:59 p.m. due dates (Fridays are considered Day 5, the final day of each school week).  These starred assignments are unique in that they have 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 in during the late-submission window will be reviewed and graded by your advisor, but the percentage grade will be automatically reduced by ten percent.  This late-submission window is available for unusual or emergency situations; students should not plan to submit their essential, starred (★) assignments late.  Parents may remove the late-submission window's 10% penalty from the assignment's grade if the assignment was submitted late because of an unusual or emergency situation.   For clarity: starred(★) assignments that are submitted after the due date and during the late-submission window will incur a 10% grade penalty. The late-submission window should be used sparingly.
       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. The late-submission window should be used sparingly.

All due dates and late-submission windows reflect our desire that Sundays be 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 semester 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—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 (emergency 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.

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 into the printed gradebook.

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. 

Do Not Expect What You Do Not Inspect:  Parents and students are expected to regularly review the grades on the STAA Student Zone.  Reviews and feedback should be reviewed weekly by the student so he can ask clarifying questions about the review comments during meetings.  The entire online gradebook should be reviewed every other week or at least every four school weeks by parents and students to promote communication and accountability about course participation.  There are four major support pieces to every live class: 1) the STAA Study Guide, 2) the course's online and printed gradebook, 3) the STAA Student Zone course page, and 4) the regular support from the course's advisor through Q&A Forums, live Q&A sessions, and the scheduled class meetings.  Weekly marking in the STAA Study Guide will help students study away from the computer and quickly share course topics and updates with their parents; the course gradebooks list due dates and track completion of credit-earning assignments; the weekly quizzes on the STAA Student Zone give immediate feedback about comprehension; and the advisor support adds a layer of accountability and helps the student develop successful learning strategies.
       The final support that is necessary for student success is consistent and clearly expressed goals for the course voiced by the student's parents, as well as brief but consistent accountability checks.  The live classes are advisor-led and supported classes for homeschooling students; parents will want to encourage student success by implementing the following in their home:
   (1) looking over assignments reviews and the online gradebook together (log in as the student and go to "My Grades");
   (2) looking over the student's use of the printed STAA Study Guide;
   (3) participating in the live, open office hours Q&A sessions or scheduling one-on-one meetings as needed;
   (4) setting up a daily and weekly school routine during the Preparatory Weeks of the semester and revisiting those routines when there are major family schedule changes (as outlined in the High School Orientation, each school week of each course typically requires about five hours of time on the student's schedule for the scheduled discussion, study, and assignments); and
   (5) helping the student form and write down questions to ask during the next live meeting (learning to advocate on behalf of self).

Consider the following quotations: 

  • “Education is a high word; it is the preparation for knowledge, and it is the imparting of knowledge in proportion to that preparation.” ~St. John Henry Newman
  • “It is the duty of good education to arrive at wisdom by means of a definite order.” ~St. Augustine.

Whether taking an independent study homeschool course, an online class, or a brick-and-mortar class, student success relies on the efforts of the student and the parents.  In St. Thomas Aquinas Academy courses, the activities of the Preparatory Weeks at the beginning of each semester will help prepare the student for the proportional and orderly imparting of knowledge through reading, discussion, and writing.  We encourage parents and students to work through those activities and regularly revisit the organizational methods taught by those activities to make for a great learning experience that can be considered education with the aim of arriving at wisdom.

Academic Integrity

LIVE CLASS ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY:  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 using someone else’s words, you must put quotation marks around them and credit the writer or speaker by citing the source. Even when you revise or paraphrase someone else's words, you must give the author credit for the ideas. 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.  The window to submit an assignment is not extended because of violations of the academic integrity policy; the student asked to re-do an essential, starred assignment will need to restart it from scratch and submit it to his or her parents for review and grading.  See the General Academic Integrity Policy (included below) for information on what to do about a plagiarized work sample.

THE GENERAL ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS ACADEMY:  Every part of the written assignments, especially those submitted as work samples, should be the student's work. (1) Phrases and sentences that are not the student's words or are paraphrases of the ideas of others need to be clearly embedded, punctuated, introduced, cited, and explained.  (2) It must be clear to all readers that the student's assignment responses (whether short-answer questions, paragraphs, or essays) were written in response to the individual student's reflections on the assigned readings in the course.  Furthermore, the student's handwritten brainstorming and prewriting work must be available upon request to assure all parties that internet or A.I. sources were not used to compose any part of the paragraphs or essays.  (3) If a writing assignment is partially plagiarized, it cannot serve as a work sample and must be rewritten from scratch.  The student must start with a fresh brainstorming and prewriting session completed with pen and paper under direct supervision.  Typing the assignment that stems from that fresh brainstorming and prewriting session will also need to be supervised by a parent.  Replacement assignments are not eligible for any grade higher than 79%.  Credit indicating completion of the quarter's material cannot be applied to the STAA transcript unless a replacement essay with the handwritten and supervised elements is submitted in a timely manner; the entire quarter may be repeated from scratch the following school year if a replacement essay will not be submitted promptly (i.e., before July 15 of the same school year).  (4) Students and their parents may request a private meeting with their advisor if they are confused about what plagiarism is and why a particular work sample was flagged as plagiarism.  The assignment will be examined during the meeting, especially the sentence structures and word choice.  The student's brainstorming and prewriting work will need to be scanned and emailed to the advisor before the meeting to be eligible for this assignment review.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar and meeting schedule are available at ACADEMIC CALENDAR.  Click the link to view the calendar.  Compact, printable versions of the academic calendar are available in the APPENDIX OF FORMS.  The academic calendar is also printed in the STAA Study Guides.
I understand that all coursework must be completed by DAY 5 of WEEK 16 of the semester (or within the three-day late assignment window for starred assignments due Week 16, Day 5).  I also understand that there are no discounts, credits, or refunds of fees for missed, skipped, or forgotten assignments. Furthermore, there are no discounts, credits, or refunds for missed, skipped, or forgotten class meetings.

Course Cancellation Policy

Books and Materials: I understand that the registration fees submitted are for the LIVE CLASSES options that I selected when I registered for courses at  I understand that teaching-parents are responsible for purchasing the books and materials for the courses through their favorite suppliers or the suppliers suggested by St. Thomas Aquinas Academy and that every supplier has its own product return policy. The STAA Study Guides are printed on-demand by the printer when ordered by the teaching-parents and are not returnable to the printer unless there is a printing or binding error.
Refund/Withdrawal:  I understand that the registration fees are not prorated.  Should our schooling situation change, a refund of fees is available until the beginning of the semester.  I also understand that a $50.00 cancellation fee and any credit card processing fees (typically 3%; slightly more for currency conversions) will be deducted from the refund of fees.  I understand that it is my responsibility to request withdrawal and registration fee refunds in writing before the first orientation meeting for the semester if our schooling situation changes and [my student] is unable to continue with the course(s).



Please reach out to us through the Contact form with any questions you may have about the Student Behavior Policy.



  • STAA Study Guides

    Guides for high school students that include weekly reading plans, assignments, reflection topics, and gradebooks for the semester.

    Preview Study Guides 
  • Live Online Classes

    Classical, liberal arts courses for Catholic homeschoolers. Learn more and view the schedules for the Fall and Spring semesters.

    View Schedules 
  • Speak with an Advisor

    Arrange a no-cost, no-obligation telephone meeting with a high school advisor to discuss placement.

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