Frequently Asked Questions
for Highland Middle School Families
Is my child eligible to enroll in Blackhawk Online Academy and what grade levels are available?
Any student in grades 6-8 living in the boundaries of the Blackhawk School District may apply. If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), GIEP (Gifted) or a 504 agreement, we work with families to define goals that best suit needs as an online learner using an asynchronous platform.
Is there a cost to attend Blackhawk Online Academy?
No. As a public school, Blackhawk students may attend cyber classes completely free of charge during the school year.
How do I enroll my student in the Blackhawk Online Academy programs?
Parents may enroll their child(ren) by completing the online interest form found on our website for each child.
What if my child doesn’t have technology at home to use?
Edgenuity, the online platform that we use for students in Grades 5-12, works best on a desktop computer or laptop. Students enrolled in the online academy may borrow a district laptop for their use by contacting the cyber coordinator. Although most assignments can be completed using a tablet, there may be some issues so it is best if the family has access to a computer/laptop to complete those assignments that will not load on a tablet.
What if my child is not comfortable on the computer? Can he or she still participate? Is there support?
Blackhawk teachers and support staff will be able to provide assistance to your child. The teachers are able to assist students with questions about course content and the technology involved in online learning. Students often learn the platform quickly, but need to be willing to ask teachers questions if they need assistance understanding content or with the technology.
Will there be opportunities for social activities for my student in Blackhawk Online Academy?
Since all online academy students are enrolled in the Blackhawk School District, they have the ability to join any clubs or activities offered at Highland Middle School.
May my child be an athlete while enrolled in Blackhawk Online Academy?
Yes! All online academy students are eligible to participate in middle school sports. It is important that students stay current with pacing and meet their weekly attendance requirements as an athlete to avoid any athletic warnings or suspension.
Who will supervise my child’s instruction in the Blackhawk Online Academy program?
All instruction in Blackhawk Online Academy programs are supervised by Blackhawk School District professional employees who are highly qualified and certified to teach the courses in which your student is enrolled. Additionally, the Blackhawk School District provides administrative, guidance, and support services to all students enrolled in the program.
Who will help my child when they have difficulties?
Your first point of contact is your Blackhawk Teacher of Record for the assigned course. You may reach them through the online platform (Edgenuity) or via their school email. You may additionally contact the Cyber Office at 724-846-9600, extension 2116, if your child encounters difficulties or has questions.
What is the difference between a full-time, part-time and hybrid student?
A full-time cyber student completes all of their coursework via the Online Academy program. Coursework may be completed at home or in the high school cyber lab (for students in Grades 7-12 only) .
A hybrid cyber student completes two or more of their courses via the Online Academy at school or in the cyber lab during the regular school day while remaining enrolled in traditional courses for the remainder of their day.
A singleton cyber student completes one course via the Online Academy while enrolled in traditional courses for the remainder of their day.
Please contact your child’s guidance counselor to determine the schedule that is most appropriate for your child.
Can my child switch from traditional classes to cyber classes during the school year or vice-versa?
Yes. The online courses and traditional classes both follow the Blackhawk approved curriculum so transitioning can be smooth for students. However, it is not good for a student to transition multiple times throughout the year so we ask families that if they are considering switching, they only do so once.
Can my student complete all of their classes at home?
Assignments can all be completed at home if your family chooses that option. Students in grades 7-8 can also complete their work in the cyber computer lab located in the high school.
How can my child receive help while they are working on a cyber course?
Much of the classwork allows students to retry work if they have not mastered a skill. They can ask questions to our cyber teachers, send emails for help, and can also make arrangements to meet with their online teacher in the cyber lab for help.
How much time will my child spend doing school work during the day/year?
A year-long course requires a student to work 2.5–3 hours weekly on assignments. A full-time online academy student will be required to spend 15–25 hours weekly depending upon their courseload. A daily calendar for work is established that will enable students to remain on target for both attendance and completion of the courses. Middle school students are typically expected to work 15-18 hours (Grades 5-6) and 18-20 hours (Grades 7-8) weekly.
How many courses are offered in the Blackhawk Online Academy program?
Due to COVID and the number of families who are desiring to keep their children at home, we have expanded our middle school courses to match a student’s building schedule as closely as possible to make transition back to the traditional classroom as smooth as possible.
How will my child's progress be monitored?
A student’s progress is monitored on a weekly basis. Parents receive weekly e-mails that show a visual report of your child’s progress. Parents can also access real-time progress reports by using our Parent Portal. Students are able to view their progress and hours logged each time they log-in to the system.
How do you monitor cyber attendance?
Attendance is monitored through Edgenuity and weekly data is pulled for attendance. Students are assigned a weekly goal for hours logged based on their courseload to ensure that students are able to complete the assigned tasks for the week. Hours logged, idle time, activities completed, and pacing are taken into consideration when determining days absent.
Can my child work ahead?
Since the courses are asynchronous and self-paced, students have the ability and are encouraged to work ahead of the daily pacing plan. This helps a student to not fall behind if they are not feeling well and unable to log in.
How will my child participate in physical education?
Students will complete online assignments and are also required to keep an activity log of their physical fitness activities. Middle school students are expected to workout for 30 minutes twice per week. A list of acceptable activities which help increase heart rate are provided and can all be done at home.
What are parents required to do if their child attends Blackhawk Cyber?
Parents can best help their children be successful by focusing on helping their children create a daily routine which allows enough time to complete daily assignments without rushing, set high expectations and monitor to keep students on track with pacing by using the assignment calendar, and provide encouragement on a daily basis. Parents should be asking their children what did they learn, what was challenging, how did they overcome any obstacles, and what was accomplished each day. In addition, our middle school students may need close supervision during the first few weeks to guide them in how to take good notes from the video instruction and assignments. All math problems should be written down, reviewed, and practiced. Students will learn the most when they review their notes on a regular basis. For example, if a student completes assignments during the day, they should take 15-30 minutes in the evening to read and review their notes and/or consider having them begin their day reviewing notes prior to logging in.
How will my child’s grades be determined?
Similar to traditional courses with multiple measures of student progress, our cyber courses assess student progress in a variety of ways. Some examples of the assessment tools used include journal entries, quizzes, tests, homework assignments, and written projects. Students do have the ability to redo work until the student reaches mastery. Teachers will assess the assignments and provide timely feedback.
Will my child be required to participate in standardized testing?
Yes, all students in the Blackhawk Online Academy program are required to participate in district and state standardized testing. Students in select grades are required to participate in Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) in the areas of Reading, Math, Writing, and Science. Students will be notified of testing dates and will come to the building to participate in these assessments which are scheduled in the spring each school year.
Special Education Questions
Is there a special education program?
Yes. We follow all federal and state regulations and standards for special education students. As a public school, we implement Chapter 14 for special education and Chapter 15 for 504 Protected Handicapped Students. All goals delineated in a student’s IEP will be supported through the Blackhawk Online Academy and by our professional staff, including appropriately certified special education teachers.
Does the Blackhawk Online Academy have a gifted program?
Blackhawk follows Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania State Code regarding gifted students. We meet those guidelines by enriching our students through various activities and events. Goals delineated in a student’s GIEP will be supported through Blackhawk Online Academy and by our professional staff.