How It Works
Online High School
ISPA is a public school, so there is no tuition. We provide a Pennsylvania-certified teacher and instructional materials. Students and families will be responsible for providing some common household materials (such as printer ink and paper).
Who can attend?
The ISPA elementary program serves students in grades 9–12 who reside in the state of Pennsylvania.
What is my role as a parent?
In high school, students complete most of their work independently. Parents continue to serve as their child's Learning Coach to support their success. As a Learning Coach, you will
- Help your child stay on track
- Monitor completion of lessons and assessments
- Communicate challenges with your child's teacher as needed
Working with Your Teacher
Students work with their teachers and other classmates during "Class Connect" sessions. In "Class Connect" sessions, students
- Receive live instruction from teachers
- Interact with classmates
- Ask questions and receive real-time support
Students can interact with their teachers and classmates by
- Typing in the chat
- Speaking over their microphone
- Typing and drawing with online whiteboard features
- Joining small group breakouts to work on projects or receive targeted instruction
The following expectations are in place for high schoolers to ensure students are progressing academically:
- Students must earn a passing grade of 70% or above on assignments.
- Students must meet the assigned due dates of lessons and assessments.
- Students must attend live, teacher-led "Class Connect" sessions.
- Students must complete online lessons and can work on these any time of day.
Attending "Class Connect" sessions and completing coursework according to the assigned pacing schedule will help your student be successful.
In addition to regular classroom instruction, teachers offer support or small group sessions to assist student learning.
High school students are expected to spend 6 hours per course per week. A student who takes 5 courses and spends 6 hours per week on each one is devoting approximately 30 hours per week to their course work.
- 6 hours per course weekly
- Mostly online work
For more information on time commitments and attendance requirements, please review the attendance policy in our Parent and Student Handbook.
Email is the primary form of communication between the school and families. Learning Coaches and students are required to check and respond to emails daily.
What happens if there's a system failure or power outage?
Don't worry. We have a plan. In the event of outages or other difficulties, follow the instructions in the ISPA Plan for System Failures and Power Outages [PDF].
High school uses the following grade scale:
- Computer-graded and teacher-graded assignments including:
- Online or paper-based practice sets
- Threaded discussions
- Assessment grades
- Quarterly progress reports including narrative comments for each subject area
- Quarterly grades resulting in a cumulative final grade:
- End of quarter report cards will only be provided for students enrolled five weeks prior to the quarter's end.
In addition to quizzes and tests within online courses, students will take Star360 assessments upon enrollment and at several interim points throughout the year. The Star360 assessment will:
- Provide insight into academic strengths and weaknesses in math and reading
- Track student growth in these subjects throughout the year
High School students may also work within USA Test Prep. USA Test Prep is an assessment tool that aligns with Pennsylvania State Academic Standards and is used for instruction and assessment across subject areas in grades 6–10.
High school students are required to take the Keystone Exams, which are designed to measure proficiency in algebra I, literature, and biology.
- Students must score proficient on each exam
- Students may retake individual modules as needed
- Alternative assessment pathways may be available for students who struggle to score proficient
Learning Coaches are responsible for ensuring their student attends mandatory Keystone testing.
Find more information about Keystone assessments at the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
If your teen is enrolling at ISPA late in the semester, ISPA will only grant full course credit for the semester if you provide a Semester 1 report card/transcript from your prior school.
- If available, Semester 1 grades earned at prior school will be averaged with Semester 2 grades earned at ISPA to determine the final year-long grade and amount of credit received.
- Students enrolling in ISPA with less than 12 weeks left in the academic quarter may not receive credit for the semester if in-progress grades from their prior school aren't provided.
- If a course is taken for grade improvement, both grades will be used to calculate the GPA but only one credit will be awarded.
While Pennsylvania law doesn't allow ISPA to require a transcript prior to enrollment, we strongly encourage you to provide a transcript from your student's previous school as soon as possible. That way, we can review previously completed courses and create the most appropriate course schedule.
If you don't provide a transcript/report card at the time of enrollment, we'll use the information you share to place your teen in courses. We'll ask you to sign a waiver when course placement occurs without a prior report card or transcript. If a student is placed in courses without a prior report card or transcript, courses may need to be adjusted once that information is obtained.
Grades from courses taken at ISPA will be included in the calculation of your student’s GPA. If prior school records are received, courses, grades, and credits from previous schools may be included in the ISPA transcript indicating that your student earned these credits at a previous school
Alternate credits for original courses are reported on the official transcript but the grades aren't calculated into the GPA.
National Honor Society Recognizes Students for Distinguished Service, Leadership
The National Junior Honor Society is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding middle school students.
Students are chosen by ISPA faculty based on their GPA and the National Honor Society criteria of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship.
A Day in the Life of Online Students
Want to learn more about the daily life of an online middle school student? Meet Lily and Arianna!
Get answers to the most common FAQs.
Ready to Join Us?
Get the process started by creating a Parent Portal account or logging in to your existing account.