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Learning Pods

How do Learning Pods work?

VES Learning Pods are small groups of students in the same grade who learn online together with an Ontario Certified Teacher. They provide a safe space for your child to benefit from a high-quality education while remaining safely at home. Learning Pods allow students to safely interact with up to 12 other students from Ontario, other provinces, or other countries -- all under the supervision of an Ontario Certified Teacher.

What is the role of the teacher in the Learning Pod?

When students register for a Learning Pod, they work together with an Ontario Certified Teacher and other classmates to complete the course following a set schedule. Students can log in at any time to view the course content, complete practice activities, and complete the assigned homework for the week. Our Ontario Certified Teacher provides weekly, live instruction. During these live online sessions with all of the students in the pod, the teacher will demonstrate concepts, answer questions, provide feedback, talk about the last assignment, and talk about upcoming assignments.

What is the role of the parent or guardian in the Learning Pod?

The parent, guardian, or learning coach may also provide support to the student throughout the course of study. Learning Pods are a hybrid between learning online at your own pace and learning in a physical classroom with classmates. Outside of their scheduled online sessions, student are free to work on the released portion of the course on their own, and may receive additional support anytime.

When does the next Learning Pod start?

Our first Learning Pod will begin in September, and there will be additional start dates based on teacher availability. Please follow us on social media for updates!

What happens after I register?

You will receive a confirmation email upon registration for a Learning Pod. Students will be enrolled in their course 3–5 days prior to their Learning Pod start date. If fewer than 6 students enrol for the pod, VES will contact each student with the following options: (1) receive a full refund, (2) transfer the student to a facilitated course, or an independent course and refund the difference, or (3) wait a little longer for more students to join the pod..

How long does the Learning Pod course last?

Students in each Learning Pod will be guided through the course at a pace set by the teacher. The maximum length of the course will be 10 months from the date of launch.

Can accommodations be made for a student as per their IEP?

Yes. In general, with IEPs, we implement applicable assessment accommodations. VES courses offer multiple built-in supports. The courses are self-paced and make use of technology naturally. Students have the flexibility to design their own environmental accommodations such as preparing a private space to learn and take tests and spending more or less time mastering a concept before moving ahead to the next unit. For students with high-level needs in instructional and environmental accommodations, we strongly suggest that a support person (parent, tutor, or other individual) help fill those gaps on the student’s end.

Is there a schedule, and will the teacher monitor progress of each student?

One of the purposes of a Learning Pod is for each student to move through the course with a class of students. Live sessions are scheduled. Progress through the course is also scheduled, although learners can work though the content at whatever pace works best for them. Learning Pods keep students motivated and on-track with weekly lessons and assignments, but they can complete the homework on their own.

How do students communicate with their teacher?

Students will have plenty of opportunities to interact with their teacher in the scheduled live sessions. Additionally, students can communicate with their teacher within the learning environment via email and the Dropbox. The Dropbox is where students submit activities and assignments so their teachers can provide feedback.

Can parents/guardians communicate with the teacher?

Teachers and students communicate in a closed learning environment for security and safety purposes. However, at Virtual Elementary School the administrative staff, the academic department heads and vice-principal, as well as our Principal, can be reached via email should you have any specific concerns to discuss.

Do students need to live in Ontario to enrol in a Learning Pod?

No. VES supports young learners around the world. The live instruction sessions will be scheduled using the Eastern Time Zone (ET), and instruction will be provided in English. Having students in the Learning Pod from different parts of the world is one of key extensions of the social learning within the Learning Pod.

Can I switch to a Facilitated or Independent course if I’m registered for a Learning Pod?

If a Learning Pod does not fill up, students who registered for a pod may transfer to the Independent or Facilitated version of the course. Any difference in tuition fees will be refunded. Once the pod begins, however, you may not transfer or receive a refund as administrative and teaching costs have occurred. We appreciate your understanding.